12 Things to Keep in Your Car for Emergencies This Winter
A wintertime car accident or breakdown can mean anything from a chilly walk to a service station to hypothermia. "People can die in cold-weather car emergencies. In fact, it happens every year," says Lauren Fix of the Car Care Council, an industry consortium that promotes automobile maintenance. Throwing a few things into the glove box or trunk now can keep you from shivering in an unheated vehicle if something bad happens later.
Fix, a race-car driver and certified auto technician from snowy Buffalo, N.Y., says drivers can outfit their vehicles with plenty of winter emergency gear for less than $100. Read on for a rundown of cold-weather emergency items recommended for every vehicle. Estimated costs reflect price ranges advertised online by Amazon, AutoZone, Home Depot, and Walmart in October.
Many drivers know how to use jumper cables to start a dead battery, but those work only if there's another vehicle around to give a jump. You're out of luck if you're on some back road, and Fix says it's "a bad invitation to ask a stranger for help with a jump-start." Portable jump-start kits combine jumper cables with a built-in emergency battery. "You simply connect the jump starter's positive terminal to your car battery's positive terminal and the negative to the negative, and you're on your way," Fix says. "It's a great solution to get you back on the road."