Do I need a car winter safety kit?

Winter weather causes many problems for drivers from snow and ice, to enduring those freezing temperatures! Have you ever been trekking to work in the snow and find yourself stuck in a slushy mix of snow and mud on the side of the road? Or maybe you were in Atlanta, GA earlier this year when the snow caused so much traffic you spent the night on the highway in your car? Either way, you must have learned your lesson and plan to prepare yourself for winter weather driving this year! We’ve put together some car safety necessities you should always keep in your car during the cooler months.

Print out the downloadable list at the bottom to take to to your local store and stock up on these winter car safety kit essentials!

Non-clumping Cat Litter
You might be a little confused to see cat litter on this list, especially if you’re not a cat owner! But trust us, you will want this. When you get stuck in a slush of snow, this is perfect to give your tires some traction.

Car winter safety kit jumper cables

Booster Cables
These are a necessity any time of the year, but just in case you need the reminder to get some to keep in your car, here it is! It’s so much easier to just find someone who will let you use jumper cables on their car than it is to find someone who will help and has jumper cables of their own! While you want to have them all year, the winter is the last time of year you want to be stranded in your car. Don’t know how to use the booster cables? Check out our post from last month on How to Properly Jump Start A Car ( You can also print out that article and store it with your cables.

This is another great resource to keep in your vehicle year-round! It won’t completely repair your tire by any means, but it will help you get your car to a shop or mechanic to replace or patch a punctured tire.

Heated Emergency Blanket
Yes, these exist! If you’re stuck in your vehicle during the winter for any amount of time without heat, you’ll be thrilled you planned ahead and stocked your car with a heated blanket or two.

Hand Warmers
I’m sure you’ve seen these around, people use these all the time during the winter. Particularly at outdoor sports events or get-togethers. You’ll likely stress less about being stranded in your car because of snow traffic if you’re toasty! Between the heated blanket and these hand warmers, you’ll be comfortable on your commute, which is important since when it snows, your commute time typically doubles or triples!


First Aid Kit
This is another resource that should always be in your vehicle. And as the seasons change you should check your inventory and restock any items you’re running low on.

Any kind of flashlight you can keep in a winter emergency kit would suffice, but if it’s one that uses batteries, check it periodically to make sure it still functions properly. Even better, find a flashlight that is powered by a crank or generates power through motion. That way you don’t have to depend on batteries or worry about adding them to your kit.

Bottled Water & Protein Bars
You’ll also want to keep a few water bottles and some kind of snack that won’t quickly expire in your kit. If you get stuck in the snow, you’ll need your energy. And you never know how long you could be stuck, so it’s better to over-prepare and keep some food and water in your car.

Ice Scraper
These aren’t necessarily for emergencies, but when your windshield and windows freeze over, you don’t want to have to use your hand or something that will scratch your auto glass to clear it off. Get something made specifically for auto glass to avoid causing any damage to your windshield or windows.

Snow Shovel
This might seem excessive, but if you get stuck in deep enough snow, even the kitty litter may not be enough to help! Keep an ice shovel in your vehicle as a back-up and a way to help dig your tires out of deep snow.

A Bookbag
Whether you elect to keep your entire winter emergency kit in a book bag or a storage container, you should have an extra bag around in the kit or somewhere in your vehicle. If you need to abandon your vehicle and walk somewhere to get gas or shelter, you need a bag so you can carry your emergency items with you.

A few optional but still helpful items you can fill your winter car emergency kit with are:

  • A battery-powered radio
  • Extra batteries
  • Matches
  • Extra hats, scarves, & mittens
  • Necessary medications
  • A tow chain or rope
  • Reflective triangle
  • Emergency flares
  • Pieces of bright or reflective cloth (to tie to antenna or door handle if stranded)
  • An old cell phone (even old phones that are not on a plan can make emergency calls)

When you’re putting together your winter car emergency kit make sure to take everything out of the packaging. It would be frustrating to prepare for an emergency, but then be unable to take something out of the packaging because you don’t have scissors or a knife!
Ready to put your winter car emergency kit together? Great! Print out our checklist below to take with you to the store. Or you can print out as many as you like and keep a few blank ones in your car planner, like we suggested in our post on organizing your car, for future use!

Printable Winter Car Safety Checklist | Greensboro NC

Did we forget something that you think is important for winter car emergencies? Let us know in the comments below!

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