14 Items to Put in Your Winter Road Trip Safety Kit
If you’re going over the hills, through the woods or over a mountain pass during wintry months, do yourself a favor. Put a winter road trip kit in your vehicle, just in case.
Icy roads and traffic jams in cold weather aren’t predictable. Preparing in advance may save you some misery...and keep you safer in bad driving conditions.
Here Are Items to Put in a Winter Road Trip Safety Kit to Keep in Your Vehicle During the Cold Months.
- Plastic storage tub for keeping it all together and dry. And easy stowing when warmer weather returns.
- Headlamp. It could be not only snowing but dark when you realize you’re going to have to put on the snow chains.
- Speaking of tire chains, don’t forget them. If you have several sets of chains for several vehicles, putting the right chains in a dedicated winter safety kit for each car will keep you from being stranded with the wrong chains when you need them. (Here’s a video on how to install chains.)
- Reflective gear. A fluorescent safety vest with reflective strips can be bought at most big box home improvement stores. Orange warning triangles are available at most auto parts stores.
- Windshield ice scraper, in case of freezing rain, sleet or heavy snow.
- Waterproof jacket with a hood and rainpants. You’ll be glad to have that hood to keep snow from going down your back if you need to put on chains.
- Something to sit or kneel on when installing chains. Snowy or icy pavement is not a comfortable surface. A small tarp or even a piece of cardboard will really help.
- Gloves. Mittens won’t do you much good if you’re installing snow chains. Get gloves that are water resistant.
- Beanie or baseball cap. A knit hat that covers your ears will keep your head warm. Or a cap with a bill will keep snow from hitting your face.
- A towel to use after snow chain installation and removal, to put on the seat to keep it dry from your wet outer layers.
- Water. If there’s an accident on the pass you could be idled for hours. It’s a good idea to carry some water.
- Snacks. Keep a few energy or protein bars with a long shelf life in your kit.
- Kid items. Long road delays+hungry kids = nightmare. An extra diaper, a deck of cards and bag of snacks won’t take up much room and could make things a lot more tolerable.
- Pet items. A foldable fabric water bowl, spare leash and treats will be rewarded with lots of wags.
And one last thing: keep waterproof shoes handy inside your vehicle. Driving to your destination with wet feet in winter is no fun. Bring along the galoshes, just in case.
Want more tips on winter road safety? See 19 Winter Driving Resources You Can’t Do Without.
Did you know you can get a free pre-trip safety check for your vehicle at Les Schwab? Find out more here.
Be a Hero with a Summer Road Trip Safety Kit
Picture yourself as the only one with jumper cables at the boat launch when someone has a dead battery. Or looking like a genius when you bring out a deck of cards to keep restless kids busy while you change a flat tire.
Being road-trip ready means more than just carrying a charged cell phone with your roadside assistance number handy.
Keeping a simple summer road trip safety kit in your vehicle during the warm months will make your travel more carefree — and you just might save the day. Here’s what to have.
21 Items to Have in Your Summer Road Trip Safety Kit
- A clear, plastic storage bin to keep everything together and spot items more easily
- First-aid kit
- Fire extinguisher, rated for Class B and Class C fires
- Spare tire, properly inflated, along with the jack, lug wrench and some work gloves
- A ground mat or towel to use on hot pavement if you have to change a tire
- Tire pressure gauge
- Extra windshield wiper fluid in case you go through a “bug storm”
- Rags for keeping your windshield clean, or in case you need to get under the hood and get at hot or oily areas
- Three road flares, orange safety triangles or battery-operated warning lights. If you have to change a flat tire, place them 50 feet apart to warn oncoming traffic. Available at auto parts stores.
- A fluorescent safety vest with reflective strips to improve your visibility if you’re stranded on the side of a busy highway. Sold at most big-box home improvement stores.
- A baseball cap or visor to provide some sun protection if you get stuck in a place with no shade
- A reflective emergency blanket to use for shade. You can buy one at most sporting goods or variety stores.
- Sunscreen, especially if you have small kids along
- Speaking of children, stow a travel board game or some playing cards, an extra diaper if needed, and long shelf-life snacks, like nuts, dried fruit, granola bars and protein bars. Such small things will help keep them occupied and more comfortable in case you’re waiting for roadside assistance.
- Wet wipes
- Pet items. A collapsible water bowl, spare leash and treats may come in handy.
- In addition to a water bottle for every person in your car, carry a gallon of drinking water. Bring even more if you have the dog along.
- Jumper cables
- Multitool or a mini toolkit with Phillips and flathead screwdrivers, adjustable wrench and pliers. These could be useful if you’re hauling a trailer or have gear racks.
- Headlamp with fresh batteries, because flat tires can happen after dark, and you’ll need your hands free
- Duct tape, for temporary repair of a hose leak
When you’re unprepared, an auto breakdown during hot months can be just as hairy as getting stranded in winter. Your summer road trip safety kit will make getting through it a whole lot easier.
A winter road trip safety kit is also a good idea. See what belongs in yours.
Get More Safety Tips
Winter Driving Tips: Top Safety Reminders
There are always a million things to do when you’re heading out for the weekend. But planning ahead for winter driving can really pay off. All it takes is a few safe driving tips and checklists.
- Don’t use cruise control on slick surfaces. When it’s raining or snowing, cruise control can spin your tires and send your vehicle out of control.
- Create a winter driving safety kit. Already have an ice scraper for your windshield? Congratulations! You’re almost there. Here's a quick list of other items you may want.
- Learn how to drive on ice and snow with AAA.Whether you grew up driving in the winter or not, it’s always good to refresh your skills with these easy-to-understand tips.
- Print our before-you-go checklist. These quick infographics list out everything you’ll need for your winter drive.
- Know what to do if you get stuck in the snow. You might be one of the lucky few who never gets stuck, but, to be prepared, check out these helpful tips.
Be Ready for Any Weather
Even if the roads are clear when you head to work, they can be covered in snow and ice on the way home. The same goes for any weekend away, driving up to the slopes, over the passes, or through the canyons. Be prepared by getting your vehicle winter ready. That includes checking your tire pressure, tread, tires and devices.
SHOP WINTER TIRES