Winter can turn any road into an ice rink. Driving safe is only half the battle – you have no control over anyone else on the road. The best way to stay safe is to hope for the best, but plan for the worst. Packing a winter driving kit in your vehicle leaves you ready to handle the worst that winter can throw at you – from accidents to break-downs and everything in between.
Read on to learn what every winter driving kit should include, including tools, first aid and more.
Be Prepared for the Winter
You may be wondering if a winter driving kit is necessary. But as every contractor knows, keeping a well-equipped vehicle is integral to success! Your job has you on the road every day – and contractors rarely get to take snow days. If driving through unsafe conditions, you’ll want the peace of mind of a properly prepared emergency kit.
Many contractors, like plumbers or HVAC technicians are critical during the winter season. Burst pipes and failing furnaces are disasters that need immediate repair – meaning you’ll be busy all season long. That means it’s not just a time of year where you need to be ready, it could be your busiest few weeks out of the entire year!
And, while preparation can prevent plenty of issues, you can’t always avoid an accident or crash. The best you can do is have the equipment necessary to stay safe, stay warm and hopefully get back on the road as soon as possible.
Winter Driving Kit Essentials
First Aid Kit
No winter driving kit can be considered complete without a first aid kit included. As the roads turn to ice, the risk of a crash increases exponentially. First responders are often overwhelmed with the number of accidents that can happen on the worst days of winter – so it helps to be able to mitigate injuries until they arrive.
Fortunately, first aid kits are easily found. They even have special kits that are designed to be compactly stored in a vehicle! These kits come with all the essentials. But if you want to create your own, make sure not to forget:
- Pain Medication
- Antibiotic Packets
- Antiseptic Wipes
These are the “core” pieces of a first aid kit, but by no means an exhaustive list. The more you pack, the more prepared you’ll be!
Emergency Preparedness Equipment
Not every emergency is related to an injury. While a first aid kit is critical to your winter driving kit, you should also be prepared to protect yourself and others against the elements.
Getting stuck in the snow is common! Here are some recommendations for emergency preparedness:
A survival blanket
Dead batteries or running out of gas mean one thing: no more heating. You may be stuck in your car without heat for an hour or more, and that’s why it’s critical to have a survival blanket. These blankets are designed to help you stay warm even on the most cripplingly cold days.
They come tightly-packed, so they won’t take up much room until you need them. They can also be purchased in various sizes, allowing more than one person to use them at a time. Whether you need one or you come across another driver stuck in the cold, these blankets can be lifesavers!
Road flares or reflectors
Accidents can happen at any time, anywhere. After a vehicle loses control, the likelihood of a follow-up accident increases. Visibility is a key factor in preventing pile-ups in the winter. Road flares and reflectors are the tools to increase your visibility.
No contractor van should be without these – even during the warmer months of the year. You never know where your vehicle may need to be parked or when it may get stuck on the side of the road. Flares and reflectors keep your vehicle safe, keep you safe and even improve the safety of others simply passing by.
Tire chains let you maintain traction on snowy or icy roads. Many states have specific laws on how tire chains can be used, or if they can be used at all. If your state doesn’t restrict them, they’re good to keep with you when winter arrives.
The extra traction from tire chains can often be the difference between getting to a job (or getting home) versus being stuck on a giant patch of ice. It’s never fun to wait on a tow truck, especially in in freezing conditions.
Water and non-perishable food
Getting stuck in the snow is considered an inconvenience. But it can shift from inconvenient to life-threatening very quickly. If you’re out in the middle of nowhere when your vehicle gets stuck, you may be trapped for hours.
In these situations, it’s necessary to have food and water in your winter driving kit. Non-perishable foods are easy to find. Protein bars and similar foods are calorie dense, individually packaged, and can stay fresh for months. For water, consider bringing an extra bottle or two whenever you hit the road. This keeps you stocked with fresh water and avoids the risk of a bottle freezing and exploding if the temperature drops too low.
Be Ready for Winter Weather
A winter driving kit isn’t the only part of staying safe as we approach the holidays and beyond. You need to prep your vehicle to make sure it’s capable of withstanding the increased wear-and-tear of rough roads and salted streets.
Proactive vehicle maintenance can save you from big headaches after the first snowfall. Keep these tips in mind:
Keep Your Tires in Shape
Old tires put you in danger. Even in dry conditions, balding tires lack the necessary traction for you to stop in time when hitting your brakes. But when the snow and ice come, they’re an invitation to disaster. Check your tires to make sure they’re snow-ready. If you have all-season tires, make sure the treads aren’t too worn. If they’re not winter-ready tires, make sure to replace them sooner than later.
Don’t Forget to Fill Your Wiper Fluid
Road flares and reflectors help you to be seen. But wiper fluid helps you to see. You can’t be safe on the road if you can’t clearly see what’s ahead – so keep your wiper fluid topped off! Vehicles kick up a lot of dirty snow, and sometimes you need the extra fluid to get your windshield clear of debris.
Drivers can go through a lot of wiper fluid through a winter season. If your vehicle upfit left you with some extra storage space, keep an extra jug of wiper fluid handy just in case!
Stay Up to Date on Standard Vehicle Maintenance
Never underestimate the value of standard vehicle maintenance. Oil changes, replacing bad batteries and filter replacements are all things that may seem simple, but they play into the larger picture of your vehicle.
A healthy vehicle operates how you want it – a failing one is unpredictable. Reduce your risks of avoidable accidents by keeping your vehicle operating smoothly. Stay up to date on maintenance and take it in to the shop if you notice a weird sound or vibration.
About Adrian Steel Upfits
Adrian Steel manufactures contractor-grade products and storage solutions including shelving, drawers, cabinets, partitions, ladder racks, aluminum toolboxes, and accessories. Beyond manufacturing, our dedicated Customer Care Team and a network of highly qualified distributors can have your vehicle upfitted at a location convenient for you – at the factory, out of dealer stock, at your place of business, or through a bailment pool.
Find a distributor near you to get started today!
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