The Ultimate Winter Road Trip Safety Kit: Everything You Need

Around the holidays, families take a lot more road trips than usual. Between family obligations or winter vacations, you can often end up driving in unfamiliar areas with less-than-ideal road conditions for extended amounts of time. Because of this, you’re more likely to break down or get into an accident in the winter months. With the ultimate winter road trip safety kit, you can keep everything you’ll need for an emergency in the trunk of your car.

Plastic Storage Containers

The first thing you’ll need for your kit is a storage container to hold everything your kit requires. You can also use a duffle bag or any other bin big enough to hold everything. A storage container is an easy way to organize the kit, so you don’t have a messy truck with all the essentials scattered throughout your cab.


With the sun setting earlier during the winter, you face a higher likelihood that your car will break down during the night. Also, the visibility beneath the hood is already not ideal, so you’ll want light. Most people rely on their phones as a flashlight, but you don’t want to waste battery life using it as a light source in an emergency when you’re stranded. So you want a real flashlight in your kit. Also, if you want to do yourself a favor, a headlamp will give you light and keep your hands free while working.

Snow Chains

You can’t predict when it’s going to snow, and it won’t always happen overnight. Sometimes, bad weather will hit in the middle of the day, making the roads unsafe. That’s why you should keep your tire snow chains in the vehicle at times. This way, you can get home safely, even in the direst of circumstances.

Windshield Scraper

If a layer of ice and snow has formed over your windshield, you’ll need a way to get it off. Otherwise, you can’t see when driving. Turning your heat on can remove thin layers of ice, but even that process takes a while. A windshield scraper is the most efficient way to remove ice that causes visibility issues.

Car Shovel

One of the most common problems drivers face in the winter is getting their car caught in the snow. If a snow plow kicks snow into your vehicle at home, it’s an inconvenience, but you can clear it away. However, freeing your car becomes more complicated if you’re on the road alone and find yourself stuck in the snow. Luckily, there are portable shovels that you can fold and stow in your car. Then, you can dig yourself free whenever necessary.

Spare Tire, Car Jack, and Wrench

Along with winter essentials, there are a few standard car emergency repair tools you’ll need for every road trip. Since you should already have a spare tire, car jack, and wrench inside your vehicle, double-check the trunk before your trip to ensure that all three are there. You don’t want to have a flat tire only to realize you forgot the wrench.

Jumper Cables

The other standard emergency tool you should keep in your car is a set of jumper cables. In the winter, sometimes even newer batteries will need a boost. Jumper cables and a friend’s assistance can get you out of a lot of jams. It’s also worth mentioning that you need to hook jumper cables to another working car, and this isn’t a tremendous help in a remote location. So if you’re going somewhere remote for hunting or camping, some jumper cables rely on small electrical generators for power. If you charge the generator before leaving, you can have self-supporting jumper cables.

First Aid Kit

A first aid kit is something that every driver should keep in their car, even though most don’t. If your car breaks down, you most likely can’t receive immediate medical assistance. So if anyone needs medical attention, a first aid kit is all the help you have until EMTs arrive.

Portable Phone Charger

As we previously mentioned, the phone battery will be at a premium if your car can’t start. Most modern portable chargers can restore a phone’s full battery twice over, so it’s a helpful tool.

Reflective Gear

If you must change a tire or work under your car’s hood, you’ll need to be wary of oncoming traffic. Nighttime visibility when driving can be challenging enough, but when you factor in snowfall or fog, it’s even less likely that a driver can see you. A reflective vest will make you stand out, even when the moon isn’t bright.

Water and Snacks

Breakdowns and accidents are more common in the winter, so tow truck services are stretched thin. Because of this, you could be stuck roadside for hours while you wait for someone to assist you. Water and snacks might seem like a luxury, but they are necessary after a few hours. If you have a pet that rides in the car, make sure to include some of its food too.

Necessary Medication

If you, your child, spouse, or even your pet have to take regularly scheduled medicine, you’ll need to account for this. If you get stuck into the night and someone misses taking any necessary medications, a car emergency could become a medical one. One dose should be all that you need. Ensure that you clearly label everything so there isn’t any confusion. Also, keep it somewhere where children can’t reach it.

Winter Work Gloves, Coat, and Beanie

Once the car breaks down, you’ll probably spend most of your time outside working on the car. It’ll be cold, and if you don’t prepare for the weather, you won’t work outside effectively. So you’ll want to keep some cold gear in your kit. The most important thing you’ll need is gloves, so your hands can stay loose and dexterous. Also, while a winter coat and beanie are less critical, they’re still nice to have. It’s worth keeping in mind that not everyone in your family is the same clothing size, so get an oversized coat that everyone in the family could realistically fit into.

By keeping everything on this list of things for the ultimate winter road trip safety kit in your vehicle, you’ll feel prepared to handle an emergency in freezing, harsh conditions. If you need help preparing your car for the winter, visit Commercial Tires, a tire shop in Nampa, Idaho.