Winter Driving Essentials
Winter Driving Essentials
These are the Top 10 items I take with me on winter road-trips.
Anytime we get in the car it is a minimum of 20 minutes drive time…usually 45. Throw in a trip to Seattle and a good day is 5 and a half hours. Anything that won’t be damaged by freezing temperatures goes into the car around Halloween. Anything else is as needed.
1. Tire Chains
Normally, if conditions call for chains, I stay home.
That’s not to say I could be in town, 40 minutes away, and have weather go down hill quickly.
Always in the car. Especially if we are going over the mountain passes. Either to MT or to Western WA.
I have been known to leave a sleeping bag or two also. If you get stuck while they do avalanche control you don’t want to run your gas gauge down trying to stay warm.
3. First Aid Kit
This really goes without saying. I have kids. I always need a bandaid or neosporin.
4. Thermos of coffee
OK, So I don’t drive around with this in my car all winter. But you can bet me it will be on our 6 hour drives to Seattle. Again, you don’t want to get caught on the pass without either this or a thermos of hot chocolate.
Stay hydrated. This is more frugal for me than anything. We all have our own water bottles and I fill them before we leave. Most gas stations will let you refill, for free, using the water on the soda fountain.
In case you get stuck behind a slide off or the like. Nothing worse than crabby kids due to hunger.
7. De-icing windshield fluid
In summer I buy the bug kind, in winter I buy the ‘good to -20’ kind. This is a safety issue and I like to keep some in the car in case I run out.
8. Cell Phone Charger
When mom went into the hospital the first time my cell died from so many calls. My charger wasn’t in my car. I never leave the house with my phone low. Winter or otherwise. You can get this nifty battery size charger too. Fits in your BOB or EDC
9. This should be #1 A FULL TANK OF GAS!
I don’t let my car get below half tank in winter. Especially if there is a storm warning. Again, it comes down to ‘what if’ you get stuck behind an accident or you, God forbid, slide off the road. You need to stay warm.
10. Ice Scraper
Not your debit card. I drive a Suburban and need a long handle…It doesn’t help that I am on 5’4″.
Did I forget anything?
Please leave your suggestions in the comments.
Follow Mama Kautz on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest
Do you need Essential Oils of your own?
You can send me an e-mail and I will personally assist
you in choosing the best oils to fit your needs.
You can also visit my store.
Please use discretion if using oils.
I am not a doctor and can not diagnose or treat what ails ya.
I can just give my advice. Essential Oils have yet to be
approved by the FDA.
Coffee!! A must have 🙂 I change my car preps with the seasons. A few things I carry with me that didn’t make your list are: 1. A snow shovel, mine is full sized but I think a folding camp type would do. I would use it to keep my exhaust free of snow so fumes don’t back up into the car. Also, if you are stuck and going to be there a while keeping the area around the car clear serves two purposes, one if you are say in a ditch or other wise stuck and need to be pulled out it will be much easier to hook a tow chain or tow truck to your vehicle. Two, in the case of the 7 foot snow fall in the buffalo, NY area cars that were stranded on the road and completely covered got shredded by municipal snowplows. So if you are going to remain with your vehicle you want it to be able to be seen. I also keep a stash of Mylar blankets and 18 hour heat packs/hand warmers with me. I also keep candles and some tin cans to burn them in. These are all small items that can be place in the trunk. One more thing for us girls out there, if you work in an office setting and wear skirts and dress shoes to work, throw a pair of boots and pants in your car 🙂 I hope we all get where we are going this winter and never need any of this stuff, drive safe and keep the rubber side down. Happy holidays!!
Great ideas!! Duh on the shovel.
Toilet paper. More than once have I had to dive into the woodline to relive myself. Nobody wants to use leaves or pieces of clothing for that task.
It didn’t make the list, but it is in the console 🙂
I like this reminder best: Everyone is a beginning driver in the first two storms of the season.
Ha! I love Dave’s observation, “Everyone is a beginning driver in the first two storms of the season”. No kidding! Quite literally words to live by!
Especially living where you do, in addition to the gear you and your commenters mention above, a basic vehicle-EDC kit (one kept permanently on-board) should include the following gear (Note: This list is merely my own suggestion for a rudimentary vehicle-EDC kit. It is not intended to be a complete survival-gear list…each of us should consider putting together his/her own GHB kit and keeping it with, when you travel). Here you go:
-flashlight/s with fresh spare batteries,
-regional maps/gps/compass (remember the Stolpa family’s survival nightmare),
-high-visibility reflective vest/s,
-emergency folding triangle,
-functional spare tire w/jack (and complete confidence in your ability to use them),
-spare gas container (empty) and separate long-necked fueling funnel,
-leather work gloves,
-tow chain/rope with hooks,
-Swiss Army Knife or other quality multi-tool,
-mechanic’s tool kit (appropriate to your vehicle and your abilities)
-a 6-pack of BIC lighters (very reliable flints-and-steels)
-pen/sharpie and a “Rite-In-The-Rain” all-weather notebook (for leaving notes on your car, tinder, etc.)
Really, this is not a lot of extra gear. With the exception of the spare tire, the tire chains, and the full tank of gas, the items mentioned in the article and comments above (so far) should fit in one or two smallish cardboard boxes, and maybe just one if you take advantage of unused storage volume (under the seats, for example).
Add to your standard, permanent vehicle-EDC kit these few small items that could come in handy in snowstorms and cold weather:
-gallon-size Ziploc bag/s filled with inexpensive kitty litter (for extra traction on icy spots).
Finally, don’t forget to carry food and water for your pet/s.
Looking forward to comments/criticisms/suggestions for additional items.
Stay safe, MK, and thanks for all you do.
I laughed because this list would be the one The Principal did….much more detailed. He and I make a good team.
Not acquainted with “The Principal” (though I was reluctantly introduced to more than one in my younger days!!!), but I’ll take that as a compliment.
Merry Christmas to you both, and to all!
My husbands nickname is The Principal because we homeschool lol Merry Christmas to you as well!
Might think about the coffee can heaters we built in class. With 2 100 hour paraffin candles you get 200 hours of heat or light.
I now use a 1 gallon paint can for the largest can as it has a sealable lid.
Smallest can goes inside gallon can and candles inside of that.
The mid size coffee can has become hard to find, but you can stay warm as well as your coffee using this 3 can heater,
Since posting my prior comment, I’ve been thinking about item #7 on your list, “De-Icing Windshield Fluid”, for a couple of reasons:
1- Since the fluid reservoir is usually located under the hood, out of sight, and it’s not something most of us check or even think about until we run out of fluid, we would all do well to incorporate a windshield washer fluid level check into our pre-travel checklist, along with fuel and oil levels, tire pressure, etc., especially if a threat of inclement weather is in the forecast.
2- I recently bought a product for my Truck-EDC kit, “20/10 Winter Boost Concentrate Windshield Cleaner”, that I have not used yet. At a 2:1 ratio (two parts water to 1 part concentrate) the manufacturer says it yields a solution that’s good down to -3F (not as effective as the winter -20F kind, but more protective than plain water or the summer +32F kind).
Dilution of this concentrated product is required; but the product’s instructions only address diluting the concentrate with water before use, so I contacted the company sales manager asking whether someone could simply add that product to the remaining +32F (summer) fluid in the reservoir. Here is his reply:
+32 summer wash is nothing more than water, soap and dye.
The Winter Boost can be used with either water or a summer product.”
Good to know…it hadn’t occurred to me that there may be no anti-freeze components at all to +32F windshield fluid, though it makes sense. I’ve had summer fluid freeze on my windshield in wintry weather. The caveat before adding the concentrate to the reservoir would be to know the capacity of the reservoir and determine how much concentrate to add to achieve the recommended maximum 2:1 ratio.
My truck’s windshield washer fluid reservoir is now full with commercially-made winter formulation (-20F) fluid, just as you recommend; but I’m keeping my quart of “Winter Boost” in my Truck-EDC kit as a back-up. If needed in wintry conditions, it should work better than water or just summer (+32F) fluid, and it takes up far less room in my kit than a gallon jug.
There are a number of articles on line about formulating one’s own windshield washer fluid. I have no idea how well any of the solutions might work in winter, but I’d be very interested to learn from the experiences of others.
Also, I’d welcome any feedback from others about their experiences with “20/10 Winter Boost” pros or cons, especially cons. Thanks.
And thanks again, MK, for all you do.
flattened roll of TP and flattened roll of paper towels – both could come in handy for many things. Same with duct tape, large plastic trash bags, and a pair of cheap scissors.
I always keep some left-over shingles from when we re-shingled our roof. I put them in the trunk of my car when winter comes. Then if I get stuck in the snow, I slide a couple shingles under the tires and I get some traction. They’ve helped me out a few times.