If you've already bought winter survival kits for your family this year, good for you they make a thoughtful gift and many contain items that truly may save their skin in case of being stranded in the teeth of a winter blizzard. These kits are portable and tuck away easily.

If you're stuck you may be in need of less space-saving gear

bright orange traffic cones standing in a row on dark asphalt

If you can find orange cones or those reflective orange triangles anything to let other motorists know you are there. Maybe a battery-operated flashing light to draw attention to your location. Often the greatest danger is others on the road.  A roll of reflective tape would also be handy. Tape it to your coat if you're out shoveling snow.

This leads us to...bring a real shovel.


I know you're limited on room, but if you're making a trip in dangerous conditions find the space for a real shovel. Toss one in the backseat to be safe.

Weston Loving
Weston Loving

Get a big bag of kitty litter and toss it in the trunk or a bag of that absorbent stuff your dad cleans his garage floor with. That could get you the traction you need to get out of a stuck situation. If that doesn't work a tow strap could be just the thing you need for when a good samaritan pulls over to give you a hand.

I'm going to assume you're clever enough to have a proper spare tire

Spare tire (wheel)
Hancu Adrian

Also, have your jumper cables IN YOUR VEHICLE! They're useless in your garage.

jump-start on white background.

Frankly, the most important part of any winter travel survival plan is your cellphone.


Maybe the most important is charging backup

Charging of mobile smartphone

Cellphone service has become all-encompassing and being able to contact emergency assistance is the key to getting out of most jams. But waiting for assistance can still be a life-threatening ordeal.

So overpack your vehicle with really warm layers of clothing.

Wintery picture of a very cold man with a XMAS vibe

Cellphone car chargers, backup chargers, and plenty of winter-ready clothing are absolute priorities. Speaking of priority, check road conditions and decide if it's really that important to be out battling the elements.

If you do have to make a trip make sure others know the route you are taking and when to expect your arrival. I'm old enough to have been in situations where a cell phone call would have solved some very difficult jams. Like that time me and a buddy had a Firebird that actually started on fire stuck in the snow out in the country in the middle of a subzero night. No cellphone, no proper shovel, and no common sense.  Seriously a Firebird?

Make sure your phone will be charged up and ready to call for assistance.

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