What items should I carry in my car during the winter?

Question:

For local driving, do I need to worry about keeping cold-weather provisions in my vehicle?

Answer:

In the Denver area, the average winter temperature is just under 31 degrees, so think about how long you might be able to tolerate being stranded on the side of the road in those conditions, and how long it might take to get pulled from a snowbank or to get any other kind of help. Why put yourself through that ordeal? Other than a fully charged cell phone, we recommend that you keep these three critical items handy during the winter:

  • At least one blanket
  • A pair of gloves (in case you need to get outside the car to attend to a problem)
  • A flashlight with fresh batteries

Additionally, it would not hurt to have in your trunk a set of flares, an ice scraper, a small shovel and some emergency nutrition. If a Good Samaritan stops to help, you might be thankful that you thought to carry a good tow rope (available at auto parts stores) AND jumper cables for a dead battery. Some people carry small bags of sand, to help gain traction in ice or snow; but if you carry too much sand the extra weight will affect your gas mileage.

Bottom line: The one time you find yourself in need of these emergency items, you’ll be glad you planned ahead.