What To Keep in Your Car in the Winter

I’m not a fan of winter weather. Although I appreciate having all four seasons here in Kentucky, I don’t always welcome the snow and ice that accompanies the winter months. As much as I want to hole myself up in the house all winter long, driving to appointments and to the grocery store are a part of life.

Driving in the winter weather is something we all need to prepare for so that we can get to our destination safely. You never know when your car will break down or you’ll get in an accident. It would be terrible to break down in sub zero temperatures and not be prepared with the basic necessities.

what to keep in your car in the winter


Today I’m going to share with you what to keep in your car in the winter to be prepared for the unexpected. These are just the basics as recommended by state police agencies.

What To Keep in Your Car in the Winter

  • bottled water
  • a warm blanket (or more than one if you frequently travel with kids)
  • a first aid kit
  • a shovel
  • non-perishable high energy foods (peanut butter, granola bars, raisins, etc.)
  • candles (even one lit candle can provide some heat if you’re stuck in your car for a period of time)
  • a lighter or matches
  • GPS or road maps and a compass
  • jumper cables
  • a red cloth or bandanna (to tie to your antenna if help is needed)
  • extra dry clothing
  • a pen and paper
  • a tow rope
  • kitty litter or sand (for traction)
  • a tire repair kit and air pump
  • a fire extinguisher
  • flares or reflective triangles

It’s also recommended to make a trip plan when taking a long winter road trip. Call ahead to your destination and let someone know your plans. Let them know the route you’re taking and when you plan to arrive. This way, if you don’t arrive on time they will know to dispatch help in case there is an emergency. These days most people carry cell phones but if your car is dead and your cell phone is also dead, it will be nice to know that help will eventually be on the way.

Another piece of advice that I have always heard is to never, ever leave your vehicle if you become stranded in a winter storm. If you have the red cloth or bandanna that is recommended, simply tie it to your antenna and wait for help to arrive. If your car will run, turn it on for 10 minutes of each hour so you can have a bit of heat to stay warm. Many people die each year from hypothermia from getting out of their vehicle during a winter storm when they are stranded. Just try not to panic and stay in your vehicle.

One last thing I’d like to recommend is to always keep your gas tank half full. One thing that always scares me when we’re traveling in the winter is that we’ll run out of gas and end up stranded in the cold. I’d hate for anyone to have to go through that! It also prevents your gas lines from freezing up in the cold winter months.

What kinds of things do you keep in your car in the winter? Anything other than what I listed? I’d love some more suggestions!

About Andrea

Hi, I'm Andrea! Thanks for reading my blog. I've been married for 16 years and live in rural Kentucky. I have two teen sons. We also have five spoiled dogs. I've been blogging professionally since 2008. When I'm not at my computer you can find me in the kitchen or outdoors having fun.


  1. Yes! Snuggly socks, candy or granola bars, bagged chips, pretzels, chips, or crackers, flashlights, batteries, and magazines in case anyone gets bored. I used to live in Virginia, so I know! ;)

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