Icy roads and deep snow are incredibly dangerous road conditions. Without the proper preparation and supplies, you put yourself at risk for losing control of your vehicle or being stranded in a winter storm for hours, or even days.
The best thing to do if your car gets stuck in severe winter conditions is to get a safe location ASAP. These 6 items will help you free your vehicle and get you back on the road, with as little inconvenience as possible:
- Windshield Scraper. If you live in a cold climate, or plan to drive through anywhere with a chance of ice and snow, a windshield scraper is key. You will have to remove snow and ice from your windshield, and a heavy-duty ice scraper and snow brush will save you valuable time and effort, as well as make it easier to see out of your windows.
- Tire Chains. Tire chains are the best way to add traction to your tires and prevent sliding in packed snow conditions. However, the laws regarding their use vary between states, they are required in some and outlawed in others, so ensure you know the local rules before putting them on your vehicle.
- Snow Shovel. A snow shovel is an absolute must. If your car gets stuck in the snow, you may be able to simply use a shovel to dig it out. Even if it isn’t possible to free the car entirely, digging around it will make the car easier to spot for rescue teams.
- Traction Mats. If you need more grip to get moving, traction mats are an ideal solution. Unlike kitty litter and sand, which are common solutions, traction mats are reusable and easily re-positioned to get your car back on course. Place the mats directly in front of your tires before moving the car. If you don’t have traction mats in an emergency, the floor mats of your car may work instead.
- Battery Jumper. Cold weather is tough on car batteries, and makes it more likely that your car won’t start. Instead of waiting for another driver to help you jump start your car's dead battery, keep a self-contained battery jumper in your car so that you can re-start the engine without any help.
- A small tarp keeps you dry when keeling in snow and slush performing car repairs. It also allows you to set down tools without them getting buried in the snow. A 5x7 mat is a good size for most car repairs.
Although these items will help you escape most snowy conditions, there is a possibility that in a severe storm, you may be stuck for a while. You should always be prepared with a winter emergency car kit. Any good prepper will have the necessary supplies in their car to survive for a period of days if required. Blankets, gloves, hats, first aid kit, and a spare cell phone charger are valuable things to keep in your car; see our guide for building the ultimate car survival kit here.
What other tools have helped you free your vehicle from extreme weather conditions? Share your winter survival experiences with other preppers in the BattlBox Members Only Group.