Header showing all of the icons from the winter emergency kit (first aid, sleeping bag, warm clothes, matches, ice scraper, food and water, phone and charger, flashlight and batteries, tool kit, compass and paper map, tow rope and tire chains, jumper cables, reflective triangle and road flares, sand and shovel, and wiper fluid)

What to Pack in Your Car’s Winter Emergency Kit


Winters in Pennsylvania can sometimes be cold and snowy. If you have to brave the snow here, or in another state while traveling, it’s a good idea to keep some emergency items in your car. Below is a list of ideas for items you can put in your car’s winter emergency kit.

A First Aid Kit

You should have a first aid kit in your car at any time of year. It’s a good idea to keep it stocked with band aids, gauze, antiseptic cream, pain killers like Tylenol, and adhesive medical tape. If you or someone in your family has severe allergies, you should also keep an epi-pen in your first aid kit. Hopefully you’ll never need to use it, but it’s better to be on the safe side.

A Sleeping Bag or Blanket

One of the biggest issues you could run into in the winter is getting stuck in the cold. Keep some thick blankets or a sleeping bag in your car. If you get stuck in inclement weather, you may not be able to rely on your car to keep you warm until help comes. By having a sleeping bag or heavy blankets available, you can wrap up and stay warm whether your car is running or not.


Keeping a pair of boots in your car can be helpful even when you’re not in a winter emergency. Sometimes snow starts while you’re at work, and you may not have the proper footwear for clearing your vehicle. By having a pair of boots on hand, you can keep your feet dry while you clear the snow. And, if you do get stuck, you can keep your feet dry if you need to leave your car.

Warm Clothing

It’s a good idea to keep some extra hats, gloves, socks, scarves, and jackets in your car. Just like the sleeping bag or blanket, these items can help you stay warm while you wait for help to arrive. You can also use the gloves if you need to clear snow from your windows or change a tire in the cold.


Matches can be handy if you get stuck for a long time and need to start a fire. You can also use them to light emergency candles. If you decide to keep some matches in your emergency kit, make sure to keep them in an air-tight container so they don’t get wet.

An Ice Scraper & Brush

Like the first aid kit and the boots, an ice scraper and ice brush are good items to have on hand even if you’re not in an emergency. You can’t always predict when frost will form on your windows or when snow will start falling, so having the tools to clear that off is important.

Non-Perishable Food & Water

Your winter emergency kit should include non-perishable foods, like granola bars, trail mix, raisins, peanut butter, and hard candy. You should also keep bottles of water in your car. Even if you don’t need these items for an emergency, car snacks can help with upset stomachs or if you’re running late and have to skip a meal.

A Phone & Charger

Keep a spare phone charger in your car as part of your winter emergency kit. If you have an old cell phone, you can include that as well. Phones have obvious uses, like calling for help or accessing GPS. You can also use them as a flashlight or to signal for help in the dark.

A Flashlight & Batteries

Speaking of flashlights, it’s a good idea to keep a flashlight and batteries (or a hand-crank flashlight) in your car in case of winter emergencies. Flashlights come in handy for all sorts of things from changing a tire to walking on a slippery sidewalk.

A Tool Kit

You should keep a basic tool kit in your car with screwdrivers, wrenches, duct tape, and other items you might need to change a tire, patch a flat, or make other small emergency repairs.

A Compass & Paper Map

While most smartphones come equipped with GPS, it’s a good idea to keep a compass and paper map in your car, especially if you’re traveling away from home. Winter storms can interfere with cell phone reception, so having an extra way to navigate can help you reach your destination safely.

Tire Chains & Tow Rope

It’s a good idea to keep snow chains and tow rope in your car’s winter emergency kit. If your car gets stuck in the snow, a tow rope can help pull it free, and tire chains can provide extra traction. You can also help other people get their cars unstuck with these items.

Jumper Cables

Jumper cables are another good all-season item to keep in your car. Whether your battery is effected by a sudden drop in temperature, or it’s just starting to lose charge, keep a set of jumper cables on hand so you can get your engine back up and running.

Reflective Triangles or Road Flares

If you get stuck in the snow, road flares or reflective triangles can alerts others of your location. You can use them to signal for help or to warn drivers so they don’t hit your car.

Sand or Kitty Litter & a Shovel

It may sound a little funny, but you should keep a bag of sand or kitty litter in your car’s emergency kit. If your car gets stuck on snow or ice, the sand or litter can provide traction for your tires. You can also use a foldable shovel to dig your car out of the snow.

Extra Windshield Washer Fluid

It’s easy to use up windshield washer fluid in the winter, especially during snow or ice storms. Keeping extra washer fluid in you car can help you keep your windshield clear so you can safely see the road. You can even get a de-icing formula for use in the winter.

Keeping emergency items in your car can help you stay safe this winter, but one of the best ways to stay safe is to properly maintain your car so you don’t get stuck in the first place. Restored Auto LLC can help you prep for winter by checking your tires, changing your oil and filter, replacing your wiper blades, fixing your brakes, and performing other important winter maintenance. Call us today to schedule an appointment!