13 items you need in your winter car survival kit

Illustration by Anna Rasmus

Illustration by Anna Rasmus

With the recent brutal cold temperatures sweeping through the midwest, it is important to make sure you don’t get stuck in a potentially dangerous situation if you experience car troubles. Here are 13 items that are not only perfect for instances when you or someone else needs some assistance on the road, but most of them are also friendly on a college student budget.

1. Jumper cables

Having jumper cables can start your car or someone else's if the battery dies. Jumper cables are inexpensive and make a difference in how long you have to wait in the cold with a dead battery. To learn how to jump a car watch this video.

2. Spare tire and jack

Flat tires are more likely to happen in the winter because the cold impacts tire pressure which can lead to a flat. Being able to change a flat tire yourself can save you money by not having to pay for a tow truck and get you off the side of the road quicker. Here is a video that shows how to change a flat tire.

3. First aid kit

First aid kits are good to have in case of an emergency. If you are in an accident and have minor injuries, a first aid kit can help while you’re waiting for help.

4. Bottled water

Sometimes car trouble requires a lot of sitting around and waiting. Having water in your car ensures you stay alert and hydrated while you are waiting.

5. Granola bars, energy bars or other snacks

Similar to bottled water, having something to snack on while waiting keeps your energy up during a stressful situation.

6. Small tool kit

Some car troubles can be easily fixed or temporarily repaired with simple tools. Pack some screwdrivers, a spliers, adjustable wrench and some duct tape. If you are able to get your car driving and to a service center, you will save money on a tow and be able to get your car properly fixed.

7. Flashlight and extra batteries

Flashlights can help with changing a spare tire, looking under the hood of the car and being able to see if you are having car problems at night.

8. Small shovel

A shovel that can fit in the trunk of a car is helpful after a snowstorm and your car is stuck in the snow.

9. Extra gloves, hat, boots and other warm winter gear

If it is not safe to stay in your car when you are waiting for help or if your car is dead, having extra warm winter gear will avoid potential frostbite.

10. Blankets

Blankets can help keep you and others warm when having car troubles.

11. Cell phone charger

Cell phones are only effective if they are charged. Keeping your phone charged means you can call for a tow, the cops or family for help if you are stuck.

12. Notepad and pen

When you call for a tow truck, you will likely get other phone numbers to call and important information. Or if you are in an accident and need to leave a note or write down the other person’s information. Having a pen and paper makes recording this information easy.

13. Cat litter or sand

If your car is stuck on ice, cat litter or sand can give your wheels traction again.

NewsMarta Rigstad