7 Little-Known Essentials to Keep in Your Car This Winter


It’s easy to forget about all the little inconveniences that cold winter weather can bring — until the first snow hits, and you’re scrambling to dig your car out of a pile of snow. 

If the familiarity of that scenario made you cringe, chances are you’d benefit from just a bit more preparation for the winter weather season, starting with your car.

Not only can taking the proper winter precautions save you time throughout the season, but in some circumstances, it could even save your life.

Stocking your car with items that both boost convenience and safety can turn your whole winter around.

You probably already have the basics covered…an ice scraper, a blanket, etc. We’ve compiled a list of winter accessories for your car that are more likely to slip your mind, and that could make a big difference throughout the season.

Sand, Rock Salt or Kitty Litter

If you live in Boulder County, chances are you’re bound to get stuck on slippery snow or a steep icy hill at some point.

Save your back some strain by keeping some sand, rock salt, or even kitty litter in your car. Simply scatter it around in front of your tires, and slowly ease forward.

The sand, rock salt or kitty litter should help create just enough traction for your car to keep going.

Kitty litter or sand are best used on icy roads vs. on piles of snow, as the litter can become slippery once enough moisture is absorbed. While sand provides traction, doesn’t aid in melting snow like salt does.


Severe storms can cause big traffic jams, and other risks of being stalled or stranded in your car. In these scenarios, it’s hard to tell if you’ll be stuck for minutes, hours, or (god forbid) a full day or more.

You never know when a winter weather emergency could occur, which is why it’s important to pack up your car with non-perishable food and bottled water to keep your energy up.

Non-perishable foods can also be helpful in a less dramatic scenario, like you finished a long ski trip and are getting queasy from hunger with no restaurants in sight.

Be sure to grab pop top cans when possible to make your life even easier in a pinch. Choose foods that are high in protein and calories like nuts, beans, and canned tuna, salmon, chicken, or turkey.

Portable Charger

As the saying goes, “you don’t know what you got ‘til it’s gone.” Your cell phone is no exception.

Smartphones are such a convenience these days that we oftentimes forget how much we rely on them, until that dreaded moment when the screen goes black. And if your car is stuck in a snowbank or skittered off the road, the consequences could be much worse than if it dies when you’re at work.

Bring a (charged) portable charger next time you hop in your car and stash it somewhere you can find it in an emergency.

Road Flares

So what if you get stuck and there’s no service? The portable charger might not do you a lot of good, which is why you’ll also need road flares.

Road flares can be set off to alert search parties or other people that you’re stuck and where to find you.

For an extra safety measure, try out a highway safety kit that includes reflective triangles so people will better see you during moments of low visibility.

A Road Map

Speaking of not having phone service, how are you supposed to navigate without GPS?

It’s time to get nostalgic and buy a trusty road map for scenarios like this. There’s not much that feels more hopeless than being completely lost, and nothing more handy to solve that then a trusty map.

Air Compressor

Cold air can lower tire pressure, which causes more of the tire to be in contact with the road, increasing and risk of a blow out.

Keeping a small air compressor in your car can help you ensure your tires have the right amount of pressure to help your commute go smoothly.

A Change of Clothes

When it comes to cold, wet weather a blanket won’t always cut it. And if you’ve ever experienced cold, wet socks after walking through snow, chances are you’ll do just about anything to prevent that feeling once again.

Pack a warm set of back up clothes in a part of your car that will stay warm and dry. You’ll thank yourself once you hop back in your car after digging it out of a snow drift.

With just a quick trip to the store and a peek into your closet, you can have a car survival kit that will help you ease that winter driving dread.

Have you made your list yet? Great! Now pat yourself on the back, because you’re one step closer to being a winter weather professional.

Your next step? Learning more tricks of the trade. Check out how to solve some of the problems caused by chemical ice melts »