Winter Car Survival

Picture of Tripps Travel Limousine. Black Lincoln Town car 4 doors..
Cars backed up on interstate in snow.

Stranded In Your Car

There you are, driving on the interstate or backcountry road in the snow. The next thing you know the traffic comes to a stop, the roads ahead are closed, but for how long?

Too many times I’ve seen news stories unfold on tv about stranded motorists freezing in their cars, no food, no water, and no bathroom, for hours and sometimes days. Second-guessing yourself in an emergency can have serious if not fatal consequences. Not keeping your car topped off with gas and not having basic winter survival gear in your car is a bad idea.

I know many of you will say, “Oh, that will never happen to me”, Wrong! It could.

Be Prepared

Having an emergency backup plan is key to winter driving survival. Even in an area that doesn’t get much snow, you still need an emergency kit. Cold and hypothermia can kill you. Nowadays the weather is very unpredictable, the weather channel will say a chance of snow or ice and you get dumped on and even areas that normally don’t get bad winter storms now do.

Let’s get a survival kit list going first. What do you need? Here’s a list of just the basics to start.

Image of a survival kit with different safety and survival items.
Survival Kit

1. First Aid Kit

First Aid Kits come in different sizes and safety aid items, From the very basic to the extensive. Basic items would be

  • Antiseptic Wipes  
  • Band-aids
  • Gauze roll
  • Adhesive Medical Tape
  • Tweezers
  • Scissors
  • Medical Gloves
  • Antibiotic/ pain relief cream 
  • Burn Cream/Ointment
  • Eyedrops/Eye-Wash
  • Pain Relief/Aspirin
  • Medical Face Mask/N95

Red Cross Travel First Aid Kits

2. Food and Water

Dry foods that won’t freeze is recommended. Candy bars, granola bars, protein bars, and Jerky(Beef, Chicken, and even Vegan).

In order to keep water in your car for drinking and not have it freeze, you will either need to remember to take water with you each time you leave the house or purchase an insulated water container and keep it in your car. Having both of these items is essential to your survival.

3. Blankets and Sleeping Bags

If you need to conserve gas or your car won’t run, having blankets and sleeping bags will keep you from freezing.

4. Warm Gloves, Socks, and Extra Coats

You will need to keep your hands, feet, and body warm if doing work outside the car or to add extra warmth inside the car. Carry a snowsuit or winter coveralls, you’ll be happy you did.

5. Flashlight or Emergency light

If it’s dark you will need to see what you’re doing. Have at least 1 flashlight and extra batteries. You can also purchase emergency lanterns and flares so other vehicles or first responders can see you. A small headlamp could come in handy and free your hands up.

6. Snow Chains or Cables

Snow cables or chains are easy to install on a car and will give you extra traction on ice and snow. Some states may require that you use them depending on the road conditions and could result in a fine if you don’t. Always check your local DOT laws and road conditions before you travel.

National Weather Service-United States Road Conditions

7. Toilet Paper, Portable Toilet, and Tarp

I know, it’s something that nobody wants to talk about but it’s something we all do. After hours of Sitting in a car eventually, you will need to relieve yourself, but where? Having just toilet paper can be a luxury if you have to go off into the woods, but there’s nothing wrong with having a tarp shelter for privacy and a portable toilet.

Suggestions: 5-Gallon Bucket, Coffee Can, Portable Camp Toilet.

Heating Your Car

You can for extra heat if you feel creative, make your own portable car heater. You can also buy a Candle Heater online. Yes, you can get heat from candles that will heat a small space. Below are some links on buying candle heaters or creating your own along with more extensive DIY heaters.

Other sources of DIY heat you can search for are Alcohol Heaters, Sterno-Canned-Heat, Candle Heaters.

 (CAUTION, always be careful and take precautions with any flammable heat source, liquid or flame), and vent your vehicle to prevent suffocation from fumes from heat sources and carbon monoxide from your running car.

I know this is a long list and you don’t have to have everything above but at least have the basics, you never know how long it will be before you can move or be rescued.

Chandelier Lantern-Heater

Consumer Affairs-Basic Emergency Heating Kit

Need a safe ride home. Give Tripps Travel A Call at (804)-347-9318 or click the button below

Written By Twales


Tripps Limousine parked in front of fountain at the Martin Agency. Black L Series Mercury sedan pictured.