Six surprising things to keep in your car this winter
Those of us who deal with snow and ice every winter know the yearly car prep drill: add an ice scraper and brush, sand or kitty litter, washer fluid, and a collapsible shovel to your vehicle’s emergency kit. (You do have an emergency kit, right?) Then cross your fingers and hope you won’t ever need them.
Winter-savvy people know better than to bury their heads in the sand (or snow). Murphy’s law definitely applies, so think about adding these to your vehicle’s stash of survival gear:
- Phone charger. The type that plugs into your car can be useful. But what if you’re stranded and your car won’t start? Consider adding a portable recharger to your kit or your keychain.
- Hand/foot warmers and blankets. If you’re stranded and low on fuel, your battery dies, or your car won’t start, these will help you avoid hypothermia.
- Emergency clothing. Add a set of thermal underwear, a coat, a hat, gloves, and boots. If you’re dressed for a party and run into trouble along the way, these may save your life — especially if you have to leave the vehicle.
- Granola bars, jerky, or other dried foods. You’ll feel a lot better with these on hand if you’re stuck for more than a few hours.
- A container for melting snow to drink. Water bottles stored in the car are likely to burst when the temperature goes below freezing. Instead, have a container that you can use to gather snow to melt. If you don’t live in an area where prolonged severe cold is common, you may also consider keeping a few energy drinks on hand. The electrolytes and sugars in most energy drinks lower their freezing point, so they are less likely to rupture when the temperature drops. You may even be glad to have that extra energy if you have to dig yourself out.
- Garbage bags and tape. If one or more of your windows are broken or frozen open, you’ll need a way to block the cold air and even snow from entering your vehicle.
Always have the right insurance coverage.
Winter is hard on vehicles — and sometimes harder on you. If your car is damaged in a collision with another vehicle, a plow hits it when it’s stuck, or you slide off the road and have to be winched out, you’ll need the right coverage. Make sure your auto policy includes Collision, Comprehensive (Other Than Collision) and Towing & Labor coverage. These are optional coverages, but if your vehicle is damaged or even totaled, you’ll be very glad you have them.
Our Risk Coaches™ are licensed insurance professionals who are trained to look at coverage from your perspective. They’re glad to help you navigate the often-perplexing world of insurance coverage. Contact your local Risk Coach professional or call us at 800.342.5342, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET.