Shani Dion-Thibaudeau

By Shani Dion-Thibaudeau

January 15, 2016


How to Put Together an Emergency Car Kit

Wind, blowing snow, heavy snow at times, freezing rain… Here in the Great White North, winter can be far from relaxing! It’s even less so on roads that alternate between being icy, clear and snowy. We Canadian drivers have learned to adapt our driving to road conditions. But even if you’re a very experienced driver, you can run into problems and end up being stranded in your vehicle.

For that reason, a comprehensive emergency car kit can prepare you for any situation you may find yourself in. It can even save your life!

Have it in your vehicle at all times

The basic emergency kit for cars should include the following, year-round:

  • High-visibility jacket
  • Knife or scissors to cut your seatbelt
  • First-aid kit
  • Emergency candles
  • Hand-crank Dynamo light or battery-powered flashlight (change the batteries annually)
  • Gloves
  • Jumper cables
  • Tow rope
  • Multi-purpose foil tape (duct tape)
  • Multi-use pliers
  • Waterproof matches
  • A blanket or sleeping bag for each occupant
  • Candle in a deep can
  • A few water bottles
  • Non-perishable food (e.g. energy bars)
  • Roadmaps
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Whistle, to attract attention

Extra items for winter:

  • Shovel
  • Ice scaper
  • Snow broom
  • Traction strips
  • Bag of abrasive material (e.g. salt, sand, pebbles, kitty litter)
  • Spare pair of boots and warm clothing

Where should you store your emergency kit?

Keep all your emergency kit items in a sturdy, easily portable bag, such as a backpack or duffle bag. You can also purchase already prepared emergency kits from CAA or the Red Cross. Keep it handy, along with your winter equipment. Don’t forget that certain items (such as water, the first-aid kit and food) can freeze if they are left in the trunk all night during winter months.

What to do if you run into a problem

1. During the winter, stay in your car to avoid exposing yourself to the cold.

2. Turn off your engine as soon as possible. If you have to start it, beware of the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Make sure your exhaust pipe is not blocked.

3. If you need some light, turn on the ceiling light. It uses less battery power than your headlights or hazard lights.

4. Don’t go to sleep. Move your hands, feet and arms to keep your blood circulating.

5. Dress warmly during winter months. Remove damp or wet clothing to prevent heat loss.

Having a car emergency kit is a simple precaution to take. It won’t break the bank and could be a real life saver if you run into problems. Don’t do without it. Drive safe!

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