items to have in your car for winter driving
I grew up in Northern Illinois. We had serious snow every year. You only had a school snow day when there were 3 feet of blowing snow with 6-foot drifts. Taking extra precaution in preparation for winter driving was automatic.
Now I live in North Vancouver where it’s been three years since we have had much more than a dusting of snow. Even this year’s snow was not a big deal from my point of view. Of course, the municipality struggled to deal with the snow we got because they don’t maintain the necessary infrastructure as it would not be economical.
Keeping my boys safe!
My sons have been driving for several years but had not experienced, as drivers, this much snow. I had to help them prepare for winter driving.
There are the obvious snow or winter tires but as demonstrated by the folks coming to blows over the windshield brushes and scrapers in Canadian tire, a lot of people don’t prepare. They react.
Before the likelihood of first snow arrives I make sure I have some items in my car. Year round I have a small emergency pack with jumper cables, flares and a can of the goo you pump into a flat tire. I add a gallon of winter or all season windshield washer fluid, a good windshield scraper with brush and a candle with waterproof matches.
Scraper and brush
The reason for the scraper with a brush should be obvious. You don’t need one with lots of bell and whistles. It just needs to be handy. Even if your car lives in a garage you still need one in case you get caught in a snow storm in a parking lot or visiting a friend.
Windshield washer fluid is a must
Windshield washer fluid is a must because you do not want to run out during a trip. When it is just above freezing the roads can be very sloppy and every car and truck is putting out grimy spray. This can rapidly empty your washer fluid. Trying to drive in these conditions with no washer fluid is very dangerous.
Candle and Matches
The candle and matches are important in case you have to stop and it is too dark, cold, or dangerous to leave the vehicle. One candle can produce enough heat to keep the interior of the car warm enough so no one will freeze. Just crack a window for a little air exchange. I have never needed to use my candle but like every mum knows; The day you don’t pack an item in the diaper bag because you’ve never needed it, is the day you will need it.
I have tried a waterproof Ziploc bag but this got beaten up and I ended up with a candle rolling around with a bunch of loose matches. Now I use a jar – decorated with washi tape because…why not!
I hot glue an extra striker strip to the top of the jar as a “just-in-case measure. I tuck the jar somewhere safe where it won’t roll around or get in the way.
The last item one might add is a blanket. I don’t have one in the car because I have, for years, taken my large hairy dogs to hike trails and every blanket that I put in the car becomes a magnet for dog hair, to the point where I would rather risk hypothermia than wrap myself up in it.
Pack a tote for longer trips
Instead, if I am taking a drive any distance like up to Whistler, I put a couple of warm wool shawls, some dates and nuts, and water with my fantastic Ripstix Hydrate in a tote and put that in the car. That way the shawls are dog hair free (mostly), and the food and water are fresh.
My kids are now prepared for this year and know how to plan for next year’s winter weather.