Winter car safety kit?

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texasdiver
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Winter car safety kit?

Post by texasdiver »

Between myself, my wife, and my college-age daughter I have three cars under my care that need good winter safety kits and I've been negligent in getting all the cars up to snuff in terms of equipment for long winter drives that we occasionally do. I've looked at the road safety kits you see at places like Costco and they seem pretty cheaply made with very cheap components so I've just been putting together my own kits in plastic totes that ride in the back. I'm wondering what the rest of you consider essential safety gear for sometimes remote winter driving. This is what my cars are currently carrying:

Tire chains (often required here in the west for crossing mountain passes)
Flares
Safety triangles
flashing highway strobes
flashing magnetic safety flashlight
backpacking headlamp
reflective safety vest (for night time tire change on highway or if it is ever necessary to walk on the highway)
Extra long jumper cables
Blue plastic tarp (for working on or changing tires on dirty muddy roads)
work gloves
nitrile gloves
hand cleaner wipes
assorted fuses
tow strap with shackles
first aid kit
blanket
fire extinguisher
ice scraper and snow brush
plastic mountaineering shovel (to dig out of snow)
safety hammer (inside center console)
leatherman tool (inside center console)
assorted zip ties and duct tape (always handy for something)

In my wife car (as a doctor she is more likely than me to stranded in bad weather in a commute because her workplace never closes) I made her pack an overnight bag with change of clothes and extra winter coats, sweaters, hats, and gloves that just rides all winter in the back seat in case she ever gets stranded overnight at work or on the highway someplace.

In my new Prius which has no spare tire I also carry a high capacity portable compressor and a comprehensive tire plug repair kit to supplement the little tiny portable compressor and tire goo that comes with the Prius. I may swap that out for an actual donut spare which I'll have to find at a junkyard as they are nearly $500 at the dealer.

So what other things do you folks keep in your car and consider essential safety gear?
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just frank
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Re: Winter car safety kit?

Post by just frank »

I went for the full donut spare/jack in my LEAF that comes with a can of goo, and carry it 365 days. I think I got it used on Fleabay for <$100.

Otherwise (somewhat redundant)...chemical handwarmers, mylar space blanket, plastic poncho, compact jumper battery, backup phone charger(s) (both 12V in car and standalone), compact tool kit.

And the ultimate: towels (paper or terry).
Last edited by just frank on Sun Dec 18, 2016 9:17 am, edited 4 times in total.
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BolderBoy
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Re: Winter car safety kit?

Post by BolderBoy »

texasdiver wrote:plastic mountaineering shovel (to dig out of snow)
high capacity portable compressor
You have a very nice list. One change I'd make is to swap out the plastic shovel for a metal one - the kind the GIs used to carry in WW2 is good. I would also carry a high capacity, portable compressor in each car - much easier and faster to blow up a tire in crappy weather than to have to change it. Most flats are gradual.

I carry a 10-pound bag of kitty litter, too. In winter I toss a sleeping bag onto the back seat. And lastly, I carry a cheap, 300watt, 12v DC-to-120v-AC inverter as well as a USB charger-that-fits-into-cig-lighter-socket.

Absolute winter rule: never let gas tank go below 1/2.
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livesoft
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Re: Winter car safety kit?

Post by livesoft »

That's a great list.

I hesitate to recommend a couple of things because your list is already overkill for me, but here goes:

Packets of chemical hand warmers used to insert into gloves and shoes by skiers and campers.
A separate fully-charged "jolt" lithium battery/flashlight combo to charge up a cell phone.

(Oh, I see 'just frank' mentioned these as well.)

Do you think your daughter will know how to put chains on her tires? :)
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itstoomuch
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Re: Winter car safety kit?

Post by itstoomuch »

Diapers (adult type-feel bad about those who got stuck on the roads and are bashful about going native and no place/no how to relieve themselves) BTDT.
Fix-A-Flat instead of tire plugs.
Charger cord for cell phone.
Hand warmers.
Bottled Water.
Ramen Noodles
Space Blanket or E-foil wrap.
12 Volt water heater.
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Re: Winter car safety kit?

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

Boy, you guys are better prepared than I am, that's for sure. I tend to just equip the vehicle for snow conditions (AWD with snow tires), then have a spare coat or sweatshirt in the car and a cell phone.

I wouldn't bring bottled water because when it's 18 degrees out, that's going to be a chunk of ice. Beer won't freeze at 32......just an FYI. :wink:
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texasdiver
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Re: Winter car safety kit?

Post by texasdiver »

livesoft wrote:That's a great list.

I hesitate to recommend a couple of things because your list is already overkill for me, but here goes:

Packets of chemical hand warmers used to insert into gloves and shoes by skiers and campers.
A separate fully-charged "jolt" lithium battery/flashlight combo to charge up a cell phone.

(Oh, I see 'just frank' mentioned these as well.)

Do you think your daughter will know how to put chains on her tires? :)
Daughter's car is in Arkansas and doesn't have chains but but has most of the rest of the list in it or soon will. She does some winter driving back and forth between Fayetteville AR and Waco TX which runs through some pretty remote stretches of rural Oklahoma.

I did teach my wife how to put on chains last week and actually bought a second set for her Highlander. Most recent ice storm we had last week was so bad that chains on all 4 wheels were necessary to get out of our driveway, even with snow tires on the car.

Haven't thought about the extra phone charger battery. What are the chances of both the cell phone and the car battery being dead? All the cars have multiple phone charger cables in them.

As for food and water. We ALWAYS pack extra food and water every time we take any longer drives out of the metro area so I don't keep that stuff in the car for ordinary suburban commuting.
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Re: Winter car safety kit?

Post by btenny »

Everyone needs to put 1-2 good blankets in all their cars and 3-5 good high calorie energy snack bars and 2 bottles of water. Do this at all times, even in the summer and in town. Most traffic jams and messes are near your home. This gives the occupant a blanket to cover up with and to keep warm and something to eat if they get stuck in a traffic jam that lasts for many hours. It is fairly common out west for a wreck in a bad storm to cause a 2-4 hour or more jam up. So everyone has to just wait out the mess. In the winter I also carry a bag of kitty litter and a snow shovel in case I get stuck. This will get me out of most situations.

And DO NOT USE YOUR GPS for directions if going out of town. They are just poor at knowing about closed snowy roads. They constantly get people lost and stuck on a closed road in the winter. Use local directions and ask about road closures.

Good Luck.
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Re: Winter car safety kit?

Post by itstoomuch »

FYI. I got rid of all the car's emergency stuff. We just stay home as retired people do. :oops:
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texasdiver
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Re: Winter car safety kit?

Post by texasdiver »

BolderBoy wrote:
texasdiver wrote:plastic mountaineering shovel (to dig out of snow)
high capacity portable compressor
You have a very nice list. One change I'd make is to swap out the plastic shovel for a metal one - the kind the GIs used to carry in WW2 is good. I would also carry a high capacity, portable compressor in each car - much easier and faster to blow up a tire in crappy weather than to have to change it. Most flats are gradual.

I carry a 10-pound bag of kitty litter, too. In winter I toss a sleeping bag onto the back seat. And lastly, I carry a cheap, 300watt, 12v DC-to-120v-AC inverter as well as a USB charger-that-fits-into-cig-lighter-socket.

Absolute winter rule: never let gas tank go below 1/2.
The metal GI entrenching tools (I have one in my beach toy kit) seem less than ideal for digging a car out of snow because they are pointed and not something you'd want to be using near the car for fear of scratching it. The shovel I keep in my wife's car (it's the car we use for skiing and mountain driving) is my old avalanche safety shovel I used to carry backcountry skiing and it has a lexan blade. It is quite heavy duty and looks more than adequate for digging out a snowed in car. Plus it folds down to easily fit into a plastic tote.
Carlton
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Re: Winter car safety kit?

Post by Carlton »

Montana DOT has a excellent handbook that includes winter driving safety and supplies recommended.

https://www.mdt.mt.gov/publications/doc ... rvival.pdf
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Re: Winter car safety kit?

Post by itstoomuch »

I used to carry couple of sacks of crushed gravel (-1/4") on my commute to Portland even though I had studs. I was a hero for once, when used the gravel to get cars moving on one of 217's off ramps. There is a gas penalty for the gravel.
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Re: Winter car safety kit?

Post by livesoft »

texasdiver wrote:Haven't thought about the extra phone charger battery. What are the chances of both the cell phone and the car battery being dead? All the cars have multiple phone charger cables in them.
It kinda doesn't matter because the extra battery is dual-purpose as the flashlight as well. Or maybe call it a LED flashlight that can charge a phone, too. :)

I had this thought: News articles don't describe folks who are stranded and find help right away. The articles describe folks who have driven off the side of the road down into a ravine that are not discovered for a few days. I'm not sure what would've helped searchers in those cases except perhaps a long-term siren that could be activated loud enough to draw attention. I don't know if "find my phone" would serve as a locator or "black box" for searchers or not. Probably the driver should always text someone not in the car of their travel plans before putting the car in the drive gear.
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Re: Winter car safety kit?

Post by itstoomuch »

a Les Schwab account :mrgreen:
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Re: Winter car safety kit?

Post by cheese_breath »

My AAA card.
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Re: Winter car safety kit?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors »

550 cord, folding knife, high calorie bars, edible nuts (you never know how some here think :wink: ), contractor plastic bags, flashlight with spare batteries, fire-starter, compass, topographic map - don't count on a GPS if the battery stops working or sometimes leads you to a place that isn't the right place to begin with, battery backup for cellphone, surveyor tape, spare wool socks and gloves, sleeping bag, blankets, a gallon of water, gallon of pre-mix anti-freeze, quart of motor oil, a can of de-icer, car brush and scraper, first-aid kit, plastic whistle, pocket mirror.

More importantly, make sure you have the car battery and drive belts checked before winter begins, change the oil, wipers, check the fluids, air in tires, and always keep the gas topped off.
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Re: Winter car safety kit?

Post by texasdiver »

Grt2bOutdoors wrote:550 cord, folding knife, high calorie bars, edible nuts (you never know how some here think :wink: ), contractor plastic bags, flashlight with spare batteries, fire-starter, compass, topographic map - don't count on a GPS if the battery stops working or sometimes leads you to a place that isn't the right place to begin with, battery backup for cellphone, surveyor tape, spare wool socks and gloves, sleeping bag, blankets, a gallon of water, gallon of pre-mix anti-freeze, quart of motor oil, a can of de-icer, car brush and scraper, first-aid kit, plastic whistle, pocket mirror.

More importantly, make sure you have the car battery and drive belts checked before winter begins, change the oil, wipers, check the fluids, air in tires, and always keep the gas topped off.
What is the purpose of the 550 cord, surveyor tape, plastic bags, compass, and topo maps for car travel? We aren't talking about backcountry skiing. And the cars already have GPS. I can't visualize any scenario in winter with a car emergency where I would ever set off cross country away from the road that I'm already on. Seems more like an issue of either (1) getting the car going again, (2) waiting out a storm in the shelter that the car itself provides, or (3) in some instances setting off down the road on foot if civilization is near.
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camillus
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Re: Winter car safety kit?

Post by camillus »

I make a few emergency kits for my cars several years back. They took up space in the trunk. That's all they did. Then I realize I drive less than 3000 miles a year mostly through residential areas and I'm a AAA member. The bags now sit on a shelf in my garage. I keep my gas tanks full and my cell phone charged.

One issue with these DIY bags is that if you don't have a lockable trunk, and rather have an SUV or van where someone can see the bag through a window, is that you might attract a thief.
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Re: Winter car safety kit?

Post by rob »

I have a pack of mylar blankets (as well as a couple of regular ones).... Incredibly little space, cheap and useful for all sorts of stuff in addition to keeping warm.
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Re: Winter car safety kit?

Post by lazydavid »

btenny wrote:And DO NOT USE YOUR GPS for directions if going out of town. They are just poor at knowing about closed snowy roads. They constantly get people lost and stuck on a closed road in the winter. Use local directions and ask about road closures.
Unless you're in the middle of nowhere, GPS applications with crowdsourced data like Waze (I think they've now migrated some of this over to Google Maps as well) do a darn good job of handling closed roads and traffic jams. Probably better than the locals who don't know that there was a 19-car pileup on the road they just took you to take.
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Re: Winter car safety kit?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors »

texasdiver wrote:
Grt2bOutdoors wrote:550 cord, folding knife, high calorie bars, edible nuts (you never know how some here think :wink: ), contractor plastic bags, flashlight with spare batteries, fire-starter, compass, topographic map - don't count on a GPS if the battery stops working or sometimes leads you to a place that isn't the right place to begin with, battery backup for cellphone, surveyor tape, spare wool socks and gloves, sleeping bag, blankets, a gallon of water, gallon of pre-mix anti-freeze, quart of motor oil, a can of de-icer, car brush and scraper, first-aid kit, plastic whistle, pocket mirror.

More importantly, make sure you have the car battery and drive belts checked before winter begins, change the oil, wipers, check the fluids, air in tires, and always keep the gas topped off.
What is the purpose of the 550 cord, surveyor tape, plastic bags, compass, and topo maps for car travel? We aren't talking about backcountry skiing. And the cars already have GPS. I can't visualize any scenario in winter with a car emergency where I would ever set off cross country away from the road that I'm already on. Seems more like an issue of either (1) getting the car going again, (2) waiting out a storm in the shelter that the car itself provides, or (3) in some instances setting off down the road on foot if civilization is near.

Depends upon where you find yourself. If the car is in an accident in a desolate area where the walk to civilization is longer than you'd imagine, it could turn into more than you describe.
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Dicast
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Re: Winter car safety kit?

Post by Dicast »

I think there are lots of good suggestions. A good leatherman type tool, window break/seat belt cutter tool, floor jack, ratchet set, tire pump are my starting set year around. I think it all depends on how remote you are expecting to be, how cold the area is.

I'd scrap regular blankets and just go with a good cold rated sleeping bag. You can keep warm without running the car engine just fine. Get an oversized bag to replace the original stuff sack and use it to pack in some of the other supplies. I always kept one rated for 0 F in my car when I lived in a rural area in Kansas (not that much snow really) but now looking at the crazy polar vortex...50 car pile ups etc, maybe I should put one in my car in Dallas,Texas...

Keep a book to read as well.
health teacher
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Re: Winter car safety kit?

Post by health teacher »

Apparently, I need to be more adventurous in the winter time.

I do carry my cell phone and the mother-in-law bought us a AAA membership.
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Re: Winter car safety kit?

Post by MathWizard »

I have some of what you have, but if my emergency got much bigger it would never make it in the trunk.

Blanket, tow rope, jumper cables (sometimes the portable jumpstarter) air compressor first aid kit.

The cell phone is much more important.

I also have a Buick with Onstar, but I have not yet activated it. I was disappointed that it used cell technology rather
than satellite phones. If it were sat phone, at least for emergencies, I would get it in a minute, since it would be
superior to my cell phone in emergencies.
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Re: Winter car safety kit?

Post by topper1296 »

I have most of what others have mentioned above plus I have some small (votive) candles and a lighter (and a coffee cup to put a candle in).
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Re: Winter car safety kit?

Post by Yooper »

Not safety related, but I always carry a piece of 2x8 so if I need to change a tire I've got a flat, non-slip surface to put the jack on. And I carry a breaker bar instead of the stock tire iron that comes with the vehicle. Provides a lot more leverage and makes breaking a stuck nut much easier. And if I was really smart, I'd carry a large hammer/maul to beat on a rim if it was rusted/stuck on. I've had that issue before at home when changing a tire and always wondered what I'd do if it happened when I was on the road, but still haven't tossed a hammer in the truck.... According to the tire shop guys, putting a layer of anti-seize on the rim prior to mounting will help (and I did that when I put the winter tires on) but I haven't had a chance to see if it actually works. I will this spring when the tires come off though.
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Re: Winter car safety kit?

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Yooper wrote:Not safety related, but I always carry a piece of 2x8 so if I need to change a tire I've got a flat, non-slip surface to put the jack on. And I carry a breaker bar instead of the stock tire iron that comes with the vehicle. Provides a lot more leverage and makes breaking a stuck nut much easier. And if I was really smart, I'd carry a large hammer/maul to beat on a rim if it was rusted/stuck on. I've had that issue before at home when changing a tire and always wondered what I'd do if it happened when I was on the road, but still haven't tossed a hammer in the truck.... According to the tire shop guys, putting a layer of anti-seize on the rim prior to mounting will help (and I did that when I put the winter tires on) but I haven't had a chance to see if it actually works. I will this spring when the tires come off though.
I have a bag of lynx levelers in my camping trailer. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0028PJ10K I think I'm going to grab a couple of them out of the bag and put them in the cars. Lighter than carrying a 2x8 scrap and they can be used as a tire block.

I did swap out the cheap lug wrenches that came with the cars with these which are FAR superior.

LugStrong 26" Compact Universal Lug Wrench Tire Iron Set Built In Socket Adapters Non Slip Handle Grip 2x The Torque https://www.amazon.com/dp/B015DJ8A40/re ... vybJFMQHWP
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Re: Winter car safety kit?

Post by Watty »

I would add a little bit of cash. I have at times found myself with $3 dollars in my wallet because I forgot to go by the ATM. $20 in small bills could help in some situations.

A list of phone numbers. If your cell phone is dead or you lose it then you might be able to use someone elses phone to make a call.

If you are on important medication then spare medicine in case you get stranded somewhere for a day or two. Date it and take it out of the car before the summer heat damages it.

Spare car keys. With many modern cars a locksmith can open the door but without the chip in the key the car will not start so it may need to be towed to a dealership. Even at a dealership you may need a code number to make new keys with some brands. If that is in your safe 500 miles away that will be a problem. I emailed those codes to myself so I can get them anywhere I have internet access if I need to.
Last edited by Watty on Sun Dec 18, 2016 6:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Winter car safety kit?

Post by alwi228 »

Cash!! I use more of a bug-out bag type of kit, and I stock that for my own survival, as well as helping others. Biggest things that have helped me with others are jumper cables (you already have) and a socket wrench set (replace alternator in a pinch). But other than that, cash.
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Re: Winter car safety kit?

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Heat/light. Added a kerosene lantern (Feuerhand seems to be the best-made available, from WT Kirkman* or Lehmans) and 30 oz metal water bottle of fuel (bottle from thrift store, KleanHeat fuel from Home Depot). Both stored vertically in one of two plastic totes of (1) winter survival and (2) vehicle self-rescue stuff. Kerosene heat consumes oxygen, but does not produce carbon monoxide. Lantern produces ~900 BTU/hr and flame will self-extinguish if lantern knocked over. 30 oz of fuel will last ~60 hrs. If I filled the lantern's tank, that additional 10 oz of fuel would extend burn time to ~80 hours. (* Blemished (paint not perfect) lanterns are ~$15 off.)

Food. I tried to keep Cliff's bars in one tote (with 2x 1-gal water jugs, most water, least volume), but they don't last as I like them and remember they are there. Nutrigrain bars, on the other hand, seem to be safe from me so will be available in an emergency.
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texasdiver
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Re: Winter car safety kit?

Post by texasdiver »

Watty wrote:I would add a little bit of cash. I have at time found myself with $3 dollars in my wallet because I forgot to go by the ATM. $20 in small bills could help in some situations.

A list of phone numbers. If your cell phone is dead or you lose it then you might be able to use someone elses phone to make a call.

If you are on important medication then spare medicine in case you get stranded somewhere for a day or two. Date it and take it out of the car before the summer heat damages it.

Spare car keys. With many modern cars a locksmith can open the door but without the chip in the key the car will not start so it may need to be towed to a dealership. Even at a dealership you may need a code number to make new keys with some brands. If that is in your safe 500 miles away that will be a problem. I emailed those codes to myself so I can get them anywhere I have internet access if I need to.
I always keep a fresh $20 bill folded and tucked between the back of my phone and my iPhone case. Never needed it driving but it has saved my butt when out on long bike rides in TX in the heat when I ran out of water and needed to stop into a mini mart for hydration. I also keep a spare credit card hidden in the car. And also one tucked into my iPhone case. That has also saved my butt when on occasion I have gotten to a store or gas station and found out I forgot my wallet. I do the same thing traveling. I keep a spare credit card stashed deep in my luggage in case the ones on my person are lost or stolen.

Great idea on the key codes. I'm going to do that. I have taken scans of all my family's important IDs and documents and stored them to Dropbox. Scans of all our passports, drivers licenses, birth certificates, insurance cards, shot records, and such. Also saved them locally to my phone. So anywhere I am on the planet I can produce digital versions of every important document. I don't know for certain if it would make any difference but I assume it would streamline things if we were ever trying to board a flight and had our ID stolen or if we were traveling abroad and needed replacement passports.
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Re: Winter car safety kit?

Post by mrc »

Car Guys Winter Weather Car Kit

1) A screwdriver (for removing the license plates)
2) Two one-way airline tickets to Miami

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Re: Winter car safety kit?

Post by just frank »

dratkinson wrote:Heat/light. Added a kerosene lantern (Feuerhand seems to be the best-made available, from WT Kirkman* or Lehmans) and 30 oz metal water bottle of fuel (bottle from thrift store, KleanHeat fuel from Home Depot). Both stored vertically in one of two plastic totes of (1) winter survival and (2) vehicle self-rescue stuff. Kerosene heat consumes oxygen, but does not produce carbon monoxide.
I hate to be that guy, but a quick google search indicates that kerosene equipment **in an unventilated space** CAN create carbon monoxide. Can you clarify?
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Re: Winter car safety kit?

Post by dratkinson »

just frank wrote:
dratkinson wrote:Heat/light. Added a kerosene lantern (Feuerhand seems to be the best-made available, from WT Kirkman* or Lehmans) and 30 oz metal water bottle of fuel (bottle from thrift store, KleanHeat fuel from Home Depot). Both stored vertically in one of two plastic totes of (1) winter survival and (2) vehicle self-rescue stuff. Kerosene heat consumes oxygen, but does not produce carbon monoxide.
I hate to be that guy, but a quick google search indicates that kerosene equipment **in an unventilated space** CAN create carbon monoxide. Can you clarify?
Agree caution is advised.

Bought 2 lanterns (one for house (decorative), one for car). As a CYA, lit both, put both into small bathroom with digital CO detector. Checked several hours later: bathroom was warm and CO detector reading was "0".

I think the important points may be "an unventilated space" and oxygen starvation may be required to produce CO.

On the other hand, increased levels of CO2 also cause noticeable symptoms.
See: Carbon dioxide poisoning: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16499405

Bottom line. My plan is to crack a window (as advised*) if I use the kerosene lantern. That should allow warm air (and CO2) to vent, and fresh air to enter through a lower point (cowl vent?). If I manage the CO2, then that should take care of any potential CO threat.

* Even if I forgot to do that, there are high baffled vents on both sides of rear door that would vent rising warm cabin air. (Actually prefer the "baffled vent" idea over the drafty straight shot of a slightly opened window.)



Emergency candles. Forgot to mention. I've carried 3x 40-hr emergency candles (small squat metal can, liquid fuel, unscrew gasketed cap, light small round wick) in my vehicle winter kit for 20yr+. Newer, similar-looking longer-burning liquid candle in clear container: http://thesweethome.com/reviews/emergen ... ss/#candle

I've always been a little concerned about an emergency candle's exposed flame, the lack of places in a vehicle to put a lit candle, and the potential to knock it over. I've come to believe using a kerosene lantern is a better execution of the liquid candle idea: wider wick for more heat/light, wick winder for controllable heat/light, safer weather-proof enclosed flame, and self-extinguishing if knocked over.
Last edited by dratkinson on Mon Dec 19, 2016 11:00 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Fletch
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Re: Winter car safety kit?

Post by Fletch »

In addition to the items mentioned (unless I missed it) toilet paper and water purification (tablets, bottle, etc.).
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Yooper
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Re: Winter car safety kit?

Post by Yooper »

Fletch wrote:In addition to the items mentioned (unless I missed it) toilet paper...
Too funny, but hands down the best suggestion for ANY time of year. Ever since I got caught on a lonely country road, miles from anywhere that had a restroom, with nothing more than a single ply Hardee's napkin when the "coffee hit", I've carried a roll of toilet paper in every vehicle I've owned. Nothing more humiliating than being 10 yards off the side of the road in the woods, napkin in hand, and wondering "what do I do next.....?"
smackboy1
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Re: Winter car safety kit?

Post by smackboy1 »

Winter tires

Li-Ion booster battery w/ LED light - it can jump start a car, charge a cell phone, provide light. I don't like jumper cables because if you can even find another car, some people are ignorant and will refuse to jump your car for fear of damaging their own car. Also, some hybrid/PHEV cars cannot jump start other cars because of the sensitive computers which can be damaged.

Old cell phone - FCC requires any cell phone to be able to reach 911 even if it is not subscribed to a plan. As long as it has reception and power, it should be able to reach 911. I keep an old cell phone in each car and by my bedside in case my cell phone is broken or the main lines are cut.
Disclaimer: nothing written here should be taken as legal advice, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.
sixtyforty
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Re: Winter car safety kit?

Post by sixtyforty »

I would opt for a sleeping bag over a blanket.
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killjoy2012
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Re: Winter car safety kit?

Post by killjoy2012 »

Unless you guys are talking about breaking down way out in the country, I'd have to echo the "AAA card" comment. You guys are going to spend 2-3x the cost of road hazard support on all this stuff. Assuming you do most of your driving within 100 miles of a major city, I'd feel much better with AAA coverage than having a lantern and candles in the trunk.

I do carry basics - aftermarket large tire iron, floor jack, 12v air compressor. But not all of the camping stuff being mentioned here...
mrb09
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Re: Winter car safety kit?

Post by mrb09 »

I carry a subset of that list in a bucketboss round cable bag year-round, with my snow chains in a separate bag during snow season.

Instead of a blue tarp, I have a pair of roofer's kneepads for kneeling when I'm chaining up. Also if you use cable chains, highly recommend these snow chain ramps.
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Nate79
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Re: Winter car safety kit?

Post by Nate79 »

We have a variety of items in our vehicles for emergency. But one point about the "AAA" cards. Their usefulness really depends on the type of emergency you are in. In winter there is a chance that your problem will happen when a large number of other people are also having problems. In this case you may be waiting a long long time for help. Here in the Portland, OR area we got hit last week with snow right at rush hour time. It was an absolute mess, especially in an area not ready for snow. Cars were abandoned on the sides of streets because they couldn't get around. Traffic was not moving and commutes turned to hours and hours because of all this. The plows were stuck in traffic like everyone else so the roads became a mess. The AAA card for the people on the side of the road was worthless in this situation.

Better to be at least somewhat prepared to take care of yourself instead of completely relying on AAA type services.
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lthenderson
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Re: Winter car safety kit?

Post by lthenderson »

I carry a cellphone and an ice scraper. I invest the savings in fuel costs carrying around all this stuff in low cost index funds.
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Doom&Gloom
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Re: Winter car safety kit?

Post by Doom&Gloom »

killjoy2012 wrote:Unless you guys are talking about breaking down way out in the country, I'd have to echo the "AAA card" comment. You guys are going to spend 2-3x the cost of road hazard support on all this stuff. Assuming you do most of your driving within 100 miles of a major city, I'd feel much better with AAA coverage than having a lantern and candles in the trunk.

I do carry basics - aftermarket large tire iron, floor jack, 12v air compressor. But not all of the camping stuff being mentioned here...
+1

I don't live in a climate where snow/ice is often a problem so I can't imagine lugging all this stuff around. These days I am comfortable with just a reliable vehicle, a cell phone, and a AAA card. I haven't had to change a tire in the past 15 years, but DW did recently have to use AAA services to change a tire. Unless I know I have a failing battery, I don't carry jumper cables. In my area anyone who is willing to "give you a jump" will almost certainly have cables of their own. I have a flashlight, tire gauge, and OEM jack/spare. I will carry a 12v air compressor if I suspect I have a slow leak in a tire but not routinely.

If I did much driving in areas with severe weather or absolutely no traffic or cell service, I would adjust my planning, but I don't see the need. In >50 years of driving I don't recall any situations where I needed anything other than to change a tire, get a "jump," or call a tow truck and figure out a way to get home. One of my most memorable experiences was hitching a ride home on an 18-wheeler cattle truck decades ago :happy
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Watty
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Re: Winter car safety kit?

Post by Watty »

killjoy2012 wrote:Unless you guys are talking about breaking down way out in the country, I'd have to echo the "AAA card" comment. You guys are going to spend 2-3x the cost of road hazard support on all this stuff. Assuming you do most of your driving within 100 miles of a major city, I'd feel much better with AAA coverage than having a lantern and candles in the trunk.

I do carry basics - aftermarket large tire iron, floor jack, 12v air compressor. But not all of the camping stuff being mentioned here...
+1

Even out in the "country" you will rarely be a far distance from from a house where you could get help in a bad situation unless you are going to a wilderness area.

One advantage though of carrying all the stuff listed would be that your car would be so heavy that it might get better traction.
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texasdiver
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Re: Winter car safety kit?

Post by texasdiver »

Watty wrote:
killjoy2012 wrote:Unless you guys are talking about breaking down way out in the country, I'd have to echo the "AAA card" comment. You guys are going to spend 2-3x the cost of road hazard support on all this stuff. Assuming you do most of your driving within 100 miles of a major city, I'd feel much better with AAA coverage than having a lantern and candles in the trunk.

I do carry basics - aftermarket large tire iron, floor jack, 12v air compressor. But not all of the camping stuff being mentioned here...
+1

Even out in the "country" you will rarely be a far distance from from a house where you could get help in a bad situation unless you are going to a wilderness area.

One advantage though of carrying all the stuff listed would be that your car would be so heavy that it might get better traction.
I expect that might be the case in many parts of the country. Here in the northwest we do cross country and downhill skiing on occasion which takes us into pretty remote wilderness areas in winter. And we cross mountain passes through long stretches of wilderness to see family on the other sides of the cascades. It could be many many hours in the snow until emergency service like a tow truck arrives to deal with some issue that could have been resolved with proper equipment in the car.

If I still lived in suburban TX I'd not bother with half this stuff.
RudyS
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Re: Winter car safety kit?

Post by RudyS »

A small plastic dishpan. If I need to pee not close to "civilization", I can probably find a tree. DW might appreciate the dishpan. She hasn't laughed at the idea.
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Epsilon Delta
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Re: Winter car safety kit?

Post by Epsilon Delta »

A credit card for a hotel room and the sense to use it when indicated.* :twisted:

I've spent a few nights sleeping in the office or the hotel next door while my colleagues slept at home after a couple of hours of white knuckle driving, but I've also slept at the office while they spent 36 hours in a ditch and the next week getting their car fixed.

The OP mentioned a college age daughter and it's something they might want to discuss. Waiting out bad conditions will probably make a bigger hole in her budget than the parents, so he might offer to subsidize the better part of valor. In the same spirit some of us promised to go get them at two in the morning if they or their driver wasn't sober or their date was a creep.

* Since I'm paranoid I also have a sleeping bag and water in the car. But no food, no rubber gloves, and no sanitation items. These are for comfort, not safety.
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