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This winter has already delivered plenty of snowy commutes and dangerous road conditions, and from the looks of it, we’ve got more to come. Even Wiarton Willy got scared back in February, and now we’re locked into six more weeks of winter. There’s no arguing that science. Best to just accept it and be prepared for whatever comes your way until spring arrives.

As a driver, this means having the right supplies in your car in case you’re ever stranded, snowed-in, or facing lengthy travel times in freezing temperatures. These kinds of situations can quickly become life-or-death. 

No need to be scared like Willy, though. Here’s everything you need for a winter car kit that will not only help you stay alive — but thrive — in a classic Canadian winter emergency.

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1. Ice scraper / snow brush. You already have these in your car, right?

2. Jumper cables, gear to change a flat tire, and a tow rope. Again, these are everyday necessities, but they’re even more valuable if you’re stranded in frigid temperatures.

3. High-energy food that doesn’t expire, and water. Think energy bars, dried fruit, nuts, etc. Also bring fresh water with you every time you hit the road.

4. First-aid kit. You’ll need at least the basics like bandages and anti-septic for treating minor injuries.

5. Phone charger / power pack. You spent too much time on Instagram and now your phone is dead! Have a charger or power pack in case you need to call for help.

6. Flashlight and extra batteries. LED is best — they’re brighter and use less battery power than a regular flashlight. 

7. Kitty litter. You can put this under your tires to provide traction. Get the non-clumping kind.

8. Candle and waterproof matches. This can keep the temperature in your car above freezing. Keep an old can to put the candle in to help reflect light and heat.

9. Roadside emergency supplies. Flares, tags to tie on your antenna, a reflective warning triangle and an emergency whistle will all help people locate you if you’re in trouble. It’s also smart to have a foldable shovel to dig your car out of the snow.

10. Winter clothes and a heavy blanket. Winter is cold. Keep warm!

Of course, it’d be ideal to avoid having to use this stuff at all. According to experts, many emergencies can be avoided by having a properly maintained vehicle, so keep your car tip-top with regular servicing. Between that and your emergency kit, you’ll be ready for even the heaviest Canadian winter.

Drive safe, 

Team Onlia

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