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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.

1. Plastic storage tub for keeping it all together and dry. And easy stowing when warmer weather returns.

2. Headlamp. It could be not only snowing but dark when you realize you’re going to have to put on the snow chains.

3. 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.)

4. 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.

5. Windshield ice scraper, in case of freezing rain, sleet or heavy snow.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. Gloves. Mittens won’t do you much good if you’re installing snow chains. Get gloves that are water resistant.

9. 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.

10. A towel to use after snow chain installation and removal, to put on the seat to keep it dry from your wet outer layers.

11. Water. If there’s an accident on the pass you could be idled for hours. It’s a good idea to carry some water.

12. Snacks. Keep a few energy or protein bars with a long shelf life in your kit.

13. 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.

14. 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.

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