Winter Survival 101

Truck in winter storm

With winter on our heels, now is a good time to revisit and update our current preparations to make sure they are sufficient for our current needs.

Since one of the biggest dangers of the winter season is travel, now is a great time to make sure your car emergency kit is up to par. I keep a well stocked emergency kit in my car at all times as part of my overall survival strategy. If you don’t already have one – get one! Here are the basic items every driver should keep in the car:

Auto Survival Kit Basics:



  • Blanket(s)
  • Winter coat
  • Mittens/Gloves
  • Scarves
  • Hand/foot warmers

***Be sure to include enough for each member of the family

Car Emergencies:

  • Jumper cables
  • Tire chains
  • Shovel and litter (for getting stuck in the snow)

***I found that all of the items listed (for a family of 3) fit nicely into a 31 gallon rubber tote. I just leave it in the back of my SUV.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. ~Benjamin Franklin

Winter Travel Tips:

Take the time to make sure your vehicle is in a safe driving condition before traveling.

  • Be sure to verify the functionality of signal lights frequently during the winter months. The more visible you are to others, the less likely an accident will occur.
  • Check your vehicle for flat tires before traveling to prevent becoming stranded or changing a tire in the snow.

If the road conditions are too hazardous, know your plan.

  • If you become stranded on the side of the road, be sure to turn on your emergency flashers to make yourself visible to other vehicles on the road.
  • If your vehicle becomes lodged in the snow and is unable to drive, use the shovel and kitty litter in your kit to gain traction for your tires.
  • Always stay with your car. Your vehicle can protect you from the elements and make you less vulnerable to frostbite or becoming lost.
  • If you need to run your engine for heat, limit running time to about ten minutes per hour and remember to roll down your windows slightly to allow for ventilation.

Remember that if you take the time prepare a sufficient emergency kit in advance, chances are you will be able to successfully recover from any mishaps that may occur on the road this winter.

But most importantly: Keep your cool! It’s easy to become frazzled in a survival situation but stay positive and follow your plan. If you have children, be sure to include a coloring book or deck of cards in your kit to help keep the mood light in the car while you wait out the storm.

Check out the Winter Survival Feature from Dateline NBC:

This is seriously one of the cooler video series on this topic that I’ve seen yet! Definitely worth a watch!

Survival in the Ice – Part 1 of 3

Part 2 of 3

Part 3 of 3

Seriously though, if you don’t already have an emergency kit in your car stop what you’re doing and get one right now!! They’re really not that expensive if you put it together yourself rather than buying one preassembled. With all this crazy winter weather we’re seeing around the country right now don’t forget to make sure you’re prepared with a good emergency tool kit in your vehicle. You never know when you might get stuck in snow or slide off the road in icy conditions and these items can help guarantee your survival.

AAA 65-Piece Winter Severe Weather Travel Kit
Triple A Travel Safety Kit

TEKTON by MIT Auto Emergency Tool Kit, 110-pc
Tekton Auto Emergency Kit

3 FlareAlert LED Emergency Beacon Flares with Storage Bag
LED Roadside Emergency Beacon

Slime Smart Spair 15-Minute Emergency Tire Repair Kit
Slime Tire Sealant

Fix-A-Flat – Tire Inflator with Hose
Can of Fix-a-Flat

Coleman Cable 08471 12-Foot Medium-Duty Booster Cable with Non-Polar Glow Clamps, 8-Gauge
Jumper cable

Bucket Boss Jumper Cable Bag
Jumper cable bage

Strong but Lightweight 5mmx50′ Rope
Heavy duty rope

20′ Ft Heavy Duty 10,000 Lb Capacity Tow Strap with Hook
Heavy duty tow strap

***This article was contributed by Chrystle Poss a.k.a. “Survival Girl”, a Survival Spot Blog Guest Author and devoted Prepper. She has been writing articles on survival and emergency preparedness since 2006. You can find her work on various websites and publications.***


Winter Weather Preparedness from the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management

About The Author

5 Responses

  1. Spook45

    Something I DIDNT see in the listings above that is a $1.99 well spent and that is those silly mylar reflective survival blankets you get off the all at any camping supply type place. Those stupid things WORK VERY WELL and can preserve heat that you have and keep you alive, they are as I said, $1.99 well spent. One other thing I would point out, it is routine in some north western states to keep two or three candles in the car for heat. This can be a lil dangerous, I would suggest a candle lantern. IT encases the candle so if it falls over it wont cathc the car on fire and it retains the heat so it disipates slower. This means it will acctually warm the space it is in more efficiantly. They only cost between 15 – 20 dollars for a small to go in your car kit or backpack.

  2. SailorJohnny

    Thanks for the reminder – this are great tips. I was surprised to find out how many of my friends did not even have a set of jumper cables in the car. We live in an area that is known to get heavy blizzards all through the winter. I will be passing this on to them for sure!

  3. Ron Mylar

    Now the winters is coming therefore it is necessary that we should carry all the important things like car first aid and other things in our car for winters.

  4. Carol W.

    Regarding burning candle in a car, one
    need to be aware of the products of combustion and the possible dangers inherent in that issue.


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