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Everyone knows the importance of keeping a roadside emergency kit in your vehicle at all times. In the winter, when weather patterns become unpredictable and roads could be covered with snow and ice, these kits become even more important. Make sure these 10 items are in your trunk this winter before the first snow and you will be prepared for just about anything the winter road conditions send your way.

1. Portable Phone Charger

The last thing you want is to be stuck on the side of the road in the snow and cold with a dead or dying cell phone. Make sure you keep a car charger in your vehicle as well as a portable battery charger. If your problem is with the car battery, a charger that plugs into your vehicle directly won’t be any help. On the other hand, a portable charging device of some sort that can charge your phone wherever you are regardless of whether your vehicle starts or not could be a lifesaver.

2. Shovel

Should you need it, having a shovel with you to dig out around a tire that has become stuck in a mud puddle or a snow pile will really come in handy. It’s unrealistic to carry around a full-sized shovel, so purchase a foldable, compact model that will store nicely in your trunk and take up minimal room.

3. Ice Scraper

If you park outside in the winter, you run the risk of your vehicle becoming frosted with a layer of snow and/or ice. You should keep an ice scraper in your vehicle so that you can clear off your windshield, windows, mirrors and lights before you drive. This is an important safety issue as you are ensuring your car is visible to other vehicles and that you can see when you’re on the road.

4. Bag of Kitty Litter or Sand

There are a couple of benefits to keeping a bag or two of kitty litter or sand in your trunk. One is that the added weight to the trunk will help rear-wheel vehicles keep traction on slick roads. The other benefit is that the kitty litter or sand can be dumped around your tires if they become stuck in slush or snow. It provides the extra grit the tires need to achieve traction and get you back on the road.

5. Flares or Hazard Triangles

If you find yourself on the side of the road, whether it be from a skid, car accident, or other vehicle failures, setting out flares or hazard triangles will alert other motorists to your location. In inclement weather, which often causes limited visibility, these act as clear warning signs and allow passing drivers more time to slow their speed and avoid colliding with your vehicle. They also help emergency personnel and tow trucks find you if you need their assistance.

6. Flashlight

A flashlight is invaluable if you find yourself in trouble at night. Flashlights can be used to signal to passing cars, and for digging around in the trunk in the dark. They are also good for finding problems under the hood.

7. Blankets and Extra Warm Clothes

If you are driving from one enclosed parking space to another in the winter you probably don’t intend on spending much, if any, time outdoors- and you may not dress for winter elements. However, if there is an emergency out on the road, it could be uncomfortable or downright dangerous to be without the proper attire. You should keep some blankets as well as some old sweatshirts, warm socks, boots and thick pants in your trunk. Also, consider keeping pocket-sized heat-reflective blankets in the vehicle. Keep mittens and a warm cap in your glove box. This all may seem like overkill, especially if you never find need to use the items, but it is better to have them and not use them than it is to need them and not have them. In the winter, it is always best to be prepared for the unexpected.

8. Food and Water

It may not happen often these days, but it is possible for people to become stuck in their vehicle for days waiting for help if something should happen during a blizzard. For this reason, we suggest keeping some non-perishable food items and water in your vehicle, just in case. Even if you only find yourself stranded for a few hours waiting for help you may find that you are more comfortable with a little snack handy.

9. Jumper Cables

Winter is hard on your car battery, a weak battery can turn into a dead battery in only a night. If you have a dead battery, you can’t get it to start without jumper cables. If your battery is three years old or more you really don’t want to go without a set of jumper cables in your trunk in the winter. If your battery is on the older side, we suggest you bring your vehicle in to us here at Meridian Automotive, before winter begins, for a battery test. We can tell you if and/or when you will need to replace your battery.

10. First Aid Kit

You can purchase a first aid kit or make your own. You never know exactly what you will need in the event of an emergency, but some items to include are bandages, antibiotic ointment, gauze, adhesive tape, scissors, and any medications you may need should you be stranded for some time.

Planning ahead and keeping a few extra items in your vehicle in the winter can mean the difference between a life-threatening situation and an inconvenient one, keep these 10 items in your trunk for peace of mind.

Don’t forget the importance of having your vehicle inspected and prepared for winter weather conditions. If you need help, call on the professionals at Meridian Automotive. We are here to help you with all your auto repair needs. We provide complete automotive repair in Meridian, Idaho, for most cars, light trucks, and SUV’s. For over 20 years we’ve been Meridian’s auto repair experts. Don’t just trust anyone, trust the experts at Meridian Automotive. Call us today (208) 297-5573 or schedule an appointment online.

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