Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you know how bad this winter has been. And continues to be.
(Actually, if you’ve been living in a cave, you probably know exactly how bad this winter has been.)
There have been so many winter storms this season that they will probably run out of names for them soon. Just when Lucian finally said goodbye, Maya charged in to say hello.
Now, everybody knows the best thing to do during a winter storm is to stay off the roads. But sometimes that’s just not possible.
You might have to get to work or school. You might have to get to a store or a doctor’s office. You might be heading out or returning from an important trip.
The road to nowhere
But as we’ve seen in many media reports recently, motorists are getting stranded on highways in the bitter cold. Due to heavy or drifting snow, accidents and road closures.
Some people have had to sit in their cars for five or six hours. Sometimes even overnight. I just read a news story about a California couple that was stranded in their jeep for five days!
And stranded motorists can’t keep the heat going in their cars for too long because then they’ll run out of gas.
I sincerely hope something like this never happens to you. But if you live in an area of the country that gets snow and ice – which is a vast majority of the country – it could happen to you.
So, as with just about everything we preach, it’s all about preparedness. Pray for the best case scenario, but be ready for the worst case scenario.
Should I stay or should I go?
The best way to protect yourself and your family members from suffering while stranded on a highway during winter is to have a fully-stocked car survival kit with you.
Before providing you with a list of recommended items for your kit, let me mention two things.
One, we often hear stories of people leaving their stranded cars to seek help. That is usually a very bad idea. Unless you know of shelter within a very short walking distance, you should stay in your car.
Yes, it will be cold. But by bundling up you should be able to avoid the hypothermia that awaits those who are out in the elements for too long.
Two, keep your gas tank as full as possible. You may think you have enough gas to reach the next rest stop. But if you get stranded before you arrive, you’ll use it up too quickly and wish you’d filled up at the last rest stop.
11 emergency items for your car survival kit
OK, let’s take a look at the contents for the ultimate winter car survival kit:
- Non-perishable food
- Bottles of water
- Extra coats, scarves, hats, gloves and ski masks
- Extra clothes, such as flannel shirts, sweaters and snow pants
- Heavy blankets
- Waterproof tarp. You can kneel on this outside your car if necessary to keep your clothes dry.
- A fully-charged battery pack so you can charge your phone and other electronic devices.
- A flashlight – This has multiple survival usages. (Take a look at our top recommendation, here)
- Portable water purifier. If your water runs out, you might be able to melt snow. But you’ll want to purify it before drinking it.
- A brightly colored flag to put on the outside of your car so rescue teams can see you from farther away
- A large duffle bag to carry as many small items as possible if you do have to evacuate your vehicle.
Caffeinated drinks are dehydrating, so you don’t want to drink many of them. On the other hand, you may need to stay awake during part of the time you are stranded, and those drinks will help you with that.
In some cases, a car will get stranded only because it’s stuck in snow or on ice. In that situation, you’ll want to have a few items in your car that will help you get unstuck. Here’s a list of some of them:
- LED flashlight and batteries
- Heavy-duty scraper and brush
- Traction mats. These are especially useful when the culprit is ice.
- Battery-charging device.
Getting stranded in your vehicle can be a very scary experience. But you can take a lot of the anxiety out of it by being prepared.
The Ultimate 9-in-1 Multi-purpose tool
Whether you’re stranded in your car, experiencing a blackout, going camping or headed to the basement… you need a flashlight you can rely on.
Our top recommendation is our brand-new solar HaloXT Flashlight.
This new survival flashlight has nine different functions all in one compact and durable tool. It can cut rope or seatbelt during a crisis, act as a compass or magnet, it can even power your phone using the power of the sun.