The 5 Essential Items for a Winter Emergency Roadside Kit

During a snowy winter, emergencies happen, and when they do, it is always best to be as prepared. Having a fully stocked winter roadside emergency kit is essential when you are driving in winter, especially when you are traveling with the ones you love.

woman with her feet up in wool socks in the car plus blanket - essential items for a winter emergency kit

No matter what happens, having the right emergency kit can be the difference between life and death during an emergency in the winter. A winter emergency car kit should contain more items than the 4 items listed below, but these are some of the essentials that can easily be found online.

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​1. A Collapsible Shovel

A good shovel is essential for a winter roadside emergency kit. It is possible to find a sturdy, collapsible snow shovel at an affordable price.

The shovel could come in handy in the case of digging tires out of snow. However, a full-sized snow shovel can be bulky and maybe won’t fit into a car.

Blue Portable Snow Shovel by Cartman sitting next to a white car
The CARTMAN Portable Snow Shovel available on Amazon.com

A small, collapsible snow shovel is perfect for an emergency kit to keep in the car. One with a removable handle and a wide mouth is perfect for shoveling a car out in case of an emergency. A great small snow shovel can be easily found on Amazon.​

​2. Jumper Cables

​A good set of jumper cables is a great investment, and a great thing to keep in the car, regardless of whether or not it’s an emergency situation.

It’s smart to invest in a nice ​quality set, because jumper cables are always needed in an emergency, and it’s never good to be let down in an emergency by a bad or faulty ​pair.

jumper cables hooked up to your car's engine

A set of jumper cables should be in every car, regardless of the season.

Cables with multiple-strand, 4-gauge copper wires are the best types to buy. The cable should be at least 12 feet long as well. If the right jumper cables are purchased, then they can last for a long time without any issues, which is helpful in an emergency. You should also read up on the basics of how to use your jumper cables.

​3. A Flashlight

This seems really obvious, but it’s a smart idea to have a flashlight in the car at all times, not just during the winter.

An incandescent or LED flashlight is a great option for a winter emergency car kit. An LED flashlight will last longer and will run evenly, even as the batteries begin to run low, but an incandescent bulb will burn brighter than an LED.

flashlight car key chain

This clip-on flashlight is a great idea, especially when driving at night.

It really comes down to personal preference. This is important for changing the tire or inspecting a part of the car in an emergency situation. Remember to always have extra batteries for the flashlight in the emergency kit as well.

​4. A Basic Tool Kit

A basic tool kit is a crucial addition to a winter roadside emergency kit. At the very least, the tool kit should include the tools that are required to charge the battery of the vehicle.

An assortment of tools - wrench, vise, measuring tape, pliers, chizel, etc.

Once you add a basic tool set in your car, you’ll never want to be without one.

The most common items to add to your car tool kit include wrenches, sockets, and pliers. Additional items include screwdrivers, electric tape, and a pressure gauge, a hammer, duct tape, scissors, and rope.

A tool kit like this will be useful in an emergency situation for fixing the vehicle. ​But it’s also awesome to have one with you while you are visiting friends or relatives that may not have some of these items on hand.

5. A Warm Blanket & Extra Winter Clothing

If you do get stuck in the snow, it is a good idea to have some extra warm clothing in the car. You may need to wait for a tow truck or friend to come and lend a hand and may not want to waste the gas to keep the car’s engine on.

Here are a few items to keep in the back of the car.

  • Warm blanket
  • An extra coat, preferably water proof
  • Set of gloves or mittens
  • Change of socks
  • An extra pair of rubber soled shoes
  • Hat and scarf

Keeping warm while waiting for help can make all the difference, both for comfort and in extreme cases your health.

car trunk organizer sitting in an SUV holding tools and auto supplies

​If you don’t find a ready-made kit, you can store the individual items in your car trunk organizer.

​The Bottom Line

In the winter, one can never be too cautious when out on the road. In addition to having a well-stocked roadside emergency kit, it is ​especially important to ensure that the vehicle is prepared for winter.​

For example, it’s important to keep the gas tank at least half full at all times in case the vehicle is stranded on the side of the road for an elongated period of time. As always, remember to drive safely and smartly, especially in the winter when the roads can be slick and dangerous.

car driving on icy road
Driving can be dangerous especially in icy conditions. Having a ready-made emergency kit in the car will help keep you and your family safe.