Winter is Here…What’s in your Vehicle?

Winter is Here…What’s in your Vehicle?

Get Toyota Cruisers & Trucks Magazine on the Google Play Store!Get Toyota Cruisers & Trucks Magazine on the App StoreRecently I made a post on Social Media, after an early seasons now fall in Denver dropped more than twelve inches of snow in a 48-hour period at the end of October. I asked my followers, “What extra things people have in the vehicle during the snowy season?” My dad showed me how to be prepared and to plan to be stuck, cold and stranded. He was an Eagle Scout, and the lessons he taught me are invaluable to us all, especially the Boy Scout motto, of “Be Prepared!”


Having grown up in a time when vinyl records and 8-track tapes were the only ways to listen to music besides an AM/FM radio; society, technology and lessons learned have all been improved since then. I learned to change oil in our cars, rotate the tires using a high-lift jack, clean spark plugs and adjust them back in the day when we did those things. Our tow strap consisted of a piece of hefty rope, maybe 8-10’ long with two S hooks on either end (eye roll permitted) and a prayer that it would pop and pull a vehicle out of a snow drift in Iowa without hurting anyone! With a can of oil, a crescent wrench, screw driver a hammer (to hit the starter once in a while or to help loosen a stubborn lug-nut,) a wool blanket, a piece of 8x8 plastic that we all resided in an old duffle bag, loosely assembled in the trunk of our 1977 Buick. Additional food and water were always packed, regardless if it was an hour trip or multi-day trip. 

Winter is Here…What’s in your Vehicle?

Fast-forward to today, everything evolves. We as people learn from our experiences, and most of us become better. This includes our driving skills, knowledge and preparedness. Many of us are far more aware and prepared than our predecessors...but there’s still more that can be done! AAA has reported that forty percent of drivers, that’s 4 out of 10, are unprepared for an emergency situation while driving. Another staggering fact is that AAA responds to more than 7 million calls a year and will rescue 7 million drivers nationwide with the majority of them facing battery, lock-out and tire-related issues.

So, to get to the root of these thoughts, I will again ask the question, ”What’s in your vehicle?” all of the time as well as seasonally?

I found this great visual of 15 Items we all should have in our vehicles for winter driving.

Winter is Here…What’s in your Vehicle?

Consider these things the “must-haves, then throw in a couple of your favorite candy bars and call it good. There are many like me, that have a few more things, to help more people in an emergency situation, but you don’t have to go what’s best and reasonable.

Here are the categories to consider:

•Food and Fluids (protein bars, energy snacks, water, sports drinks)

•Warmth (hats, gloves, extra layers, poncho, blankets/sleepingbag/fire)

•Shelter (if your vehicle is damaged what protection do you have?)

•Recovery (tow straps, chains, rope, shackles, shovel)

•Signals (flashlights with extra batteries, flares, emergency triangles)

•Duration (always plan for being stranded for at least 24 hours minimum)

Winter is Here…What’s in your Vehicle?

If you get stuck in a blizzard, a flood, or exit from some other natural disaster, what do you have in your vehicle or can be thrown in your vehicle with limited time. Are you prepared and what do you need to add to your go-kit? My rig as it sits now, has 90% of what I need for a few days to survive on my own. If I had to roll out tonight with the clothes on my back...I know that I would be fine in snow, rain, or for a few days until I need to gas up again. I have my dad to thank for that, I guess. My snap-strap and D-rings are bit more stout by the way, if you need a tug!

This list is not complete, nor comprehensive and the debate has been long-exhausted. I have pulled an old sleeping bag out that was stuffed in a sack for years, unused, when a warm-blooded friend of my son’s joined us on a camping trip, to stay extra warm. I have flares that are eight years old and never fired. There are three ways I can start a fire I have in my vehicle, along with some small candles to stay warm in the dead of winter. There are also some protein bars and oatmeal that needs to be refreshed, but if need be I would eat if stuck in the middle of nowhere!

Winter is Here…What’s in your Vehicle?

I encourage you to take an inventory, make a list, refresh old gear and food, add some new stuff, then travel with confidence and peace of mind. Top off your wiper fluid early and often in winter driving conditions. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and in so thinking, an hour of getting yourself prepared can save hours of agony, worry, and despair. Take time this week to get your vehicle up to winter driving requirements and give yourself some peace of mind.

Winter is Here…What’s in your Vehicle?



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