We have been seeing the bulk of our winter weather from January though March in the Sioux Falls area for the past couple years.
As we prepare to enter into the new year, it is important to make sure that we are as prepared as possible for winter weather driving conditions.
Up here in the Midwest, life still goes on as planned, despite winter weather. When we lived in the south, we were accustomed to school AND work closings if we had an inch of snow. Up here, that is not the case. Even if we get 6" of snow, you still plan to go to work, so it is important to make sure you are PREPARED!
Here are some of the items that you should prepare to have in your car throughout the winter. In my car, I have a tote with these items so they are all contained in one spot and I can expect them to be there if I need them.
1. Shovel - Get one that you can break down and easily fit in your car. It doesn't specifically need to be a snow shovel but make sure it is one that can easily move snow. (I managed to get my husband's 4x4 truck stuck in a snow drift in the middle of nowhere and this was what got us out!)
2. Windshield scraper with brush - Invest in a good one. You live in the Midwest now, so get rid of the cheapo ones. This will be used all winter long.
3. Traction Mats/Kitty Litter/Sand - Used if you get stuck.
4. First-aid kit
5. Blanket - All weather reflective blanket and a fleece is good to have.
6. Extra winter clothes - Gloves, hat, thick socks, etc.
***Make sure you always have a jacket, hat, gloves and boots when you take your car out during winter months. Even if there is not a specific winter weather threat, it is important that you are prepared to get stuck in cold temps. You never know when you will blow a tire!
7. Hand Warmers
8. Matches and Tin Can - In case you need to burn something to stay warm.
9. Flashlight - One that has the ability to be powered by a crank is definitely a plus, as batteries can lose their life when stored in cold temps.
10. Batteries - Keep some so you can quickly get your flashlight going.
11. Water - You need to stay hydrated to maintain your body temp.
12. Food - Your body will need calories to keep your body temp up. High calorie energy bars are convenient and store well.
13. Jumper Cables - These should be kept in your car year-round.
14. Road flares/Reflectors - Vehicles can easily get overlooked when they go off the road in winter weather. These will help others see you and get the help you may need. They may also be useful to prevent other vehicles from wrecking if the road is blocked or impassible for some reason.
15. Car Charger for Phone
**Sand bags are useful in trucks to weigh down the back end and help get traction. My husband keeps his in the bed of his truck ALL WINTER LONG
**Tire chains are not used in our part of SD. Check regulations in your state. Some REQUIRE them while others RESTRICT them.
Here is a PDF guide for MORE THAN JUST your car kit:
Here are some additional resources to prepare your Winter Kit:
You can even BUY a winter kit...just make sure to add whatever else you need to it. Most of them are the basics but usually need a couple items (like food and water) added.
Safe travels this winter!