When it comes to driving, your safety is the most important factor. Being vigilant and prepared for driving hazards is always important, but it becomes critical during the winter. Winters can bring additional weather-related problems such as freezing conditions, snow, and sleet, so being prepared for these can keep you safe and ensure you’re ready for the winter weather. Below are 12 accessories that you absolutely must have for the winter.
Most cars have decent defrosters, but these can take a long time to work to fully defrost your windshield and windows. Of course, snow flying off your car can be dangerous to other drivers and ice can obstruct your view and cause a crash. Therefore, it is important to always have an ice scraper and a snow brush for these types of conditions. As you probably know, these oftentimes come attached to one another as a 2-in-1 tool. Weather forecasts are not always correct, so you don’t want to be without these if some bad weather does come unexpectedly.
There are also windshield de-icers that can melt away snow and ice from your windshield and keep you from having to stand outside and brush/scrape in the cold. These can usually also de-freeze locks without damaging paint on your car, but be sure to read the instructions before using.
You should always be prepared for bad weather, and this includes clothing and accessories. Gloves and hats are important, especially when you are outside using the aforementioned scraper and brush. Frostbite can be detrimental to your health, so taking the means necessary to prevent it is in your best interest. Hand warmers can also be beneficial, especially if something happens to your car and you need to sit and wait for assistance.
Most of us have spare blankets sitting around our homes, so it is a good idea to put one in our cars. If your heater goes out or you get stuck waiting for roadside assistance for any reason, you can put a blanket over you to keep yourself warm. You could also invest in an electric blanket that plugs into your car’s charging port.
Car covers can be extremely beneficial in the winter, as they can protect from wind, sleet, snow, ice, and more. Keeping moisture out and preventing the cold weather from ruining your paint can extend the life of your vehicle and keep the resale value higher. These can be custom-made to fit your exact vehicle but they are also made for all makes and models.
If you don’t want a full car cover, you can get yourself a nice windshield cover that will keep the moisture off of your windshield. These attach to cars by magnets, ties, Velcro, mirror pockets, orother means. These run about $20, so they are affordable and can keep you from having to brush and scrape your windshield while also blocking bad weather and UV rays. There are many variations of these, so you can pick the one that is best for your needs.
If you need to pull over to the side of the road and fix something on your car or wait for roadside assistance, it is important that other drivers can see you. Most car safety kits come with reflective triangles or other objects that you can place behind your car to alert other drivers that you are there. Low visibility conditions are dangerous, so giving fellow drivers notice that you have pulled over can help them steer clear of you.
You should keep a first aid kit in your car year-round to be safe, but it is especially important in the winter. If the weather is bad and/or visibility is low, it can take emergency help even longer to get to you. Conducting basic first aid on any injuries can be crucial for recovery until help arrives. There are countless first aid kits available on the market that all come with necessities such as gauze, tape, scissors, tweezers, medications (e.g. ibuprofen), ointments, bandages, and more.
This one is obvious, but many people forget to keep a flashlight in their cars. Not only can a flashlight help you diagnose any possible car conditions, it can also help other drivers see you and therefore avoid you. Flashlights that don’t require batteries are available and can be very beneficial if you are trapped in the dark.
Other tools can also be useful, including a screwdriver, nut drivers, wrenches, and more. Car toolkits typically also come with things like battery chargers, jumper cables, and inverters that can help you get out of a bind.
For most people these days, this is a no-brainer but very easy to forget. You don’t want to be stranded in winter conditions without a cellphone, so always make sure to have a charger available. Whether it is one that can plug into the lighter/USB port in your car or a portable power bank, preventing your phone from dying is the first step to ensuring you can call for help should you need it.
If you’re traveling with kids, you probably already have snacks in the car, but if not, you should stock up. Having at least some granola bars or other non-perishable snacks on hand is important if you are stuck and may end up waiting for help for a long time. Water is also important, as dehydration can cause many health issues.
To prevent the carpet in your car from getting stained or destroyed, floor mats are an excellent accessory to invest in. You can buy standard mats or purchase custom-made mats that are tailored specifically for your car. Using these will maintain the longevity of your vehicle’s interior because they will prevent you and your passengers from getting mud, snow, water, and more into your car. Most floor mats on the market today are odorless and will not give off a rubbery smell.
Ultimately, there are numerous accessories that you can buy to increase your safety when commuting in dangerous winter conditions. Investing in these can make your winter travels easier and make you feel more secure.