Don’t Get Stuck Without This Extra Safety Gear.

Stuff happens. Be ready.
Credit: The Press Christchurch

Now that you have “The Box in the Back,” (see previous article) what else do you need to carry in your car? The list, strangely enough is short, but the items are necessary. The first four should be in your car all year round, not just the winter. So, without further ado, here they are with the rationale:

  1. Flashlight. It should be in the glove box, always. I suggest a Maglite (or equivalent) type flashlight that takes three D cells, not one that is rechargeable. Why? Cold is the enemy of battery life, and if a rechargeable one isn’t kept charged, you could turn it on and find you have little or no juice left. Then what? I’m so paranoid that I carry a spare set of batteries. But, if you don’t carry spares, keep them out of the flashlight and tape them together side-by-side with electrical tape and then wrap a second piece of electrical tape around the ends to protect the contacts. If you have to peel off the tape, do it carefully because it may come in handy during your emergency!
  2. Jumper cables. Car and truck batteries fail at odd times and Murphy’s law applies, i.e. they die at the worst possible time. Those of us who live in the southwest know that heat is also the enemy of batteries. Heat causes the fluid to evaporate and the battery won’t hold a charge. If it isn’t your battery that dies, it will happen to someone nearby.
  3. Chock or 2. Think about it. You’re going into the mountains and that means if you have a flat or need to jack up your car to put on chains, you need to chock two of the wheels that are not being jacked up. Ski boots work as chocks, but do you want to risk using them?
  4. Warning triangle, not flares. If something bad happens, you want to put this out a few hundred feet behind your car to warn on-coming motorists. Flares are pyrotechnics that age with heat and cold. Plus, once they burn out, then what do you use? Carry a triangle or two and forget the flares!
  5. Kitty litter. Some people prefer sand, I like kitty litter. If you need to spread some out for additional traction, you have it. Two reasons, one, it is lighter to haul around than sand, two, it is easier to find.
  6. Sections of two by fours. If you get stuck or need to put something down to distribute the weight of your car in the soft snow, three foot sections of ten inch wide planks or two by fours work well. They don’t take up much space and can, with a little kitty litter (or sand) on top, get you moving again.

None of these items, except for the kitty-litter take up much space. They’re million dollar items because you’d pay a million when one is needed and you don’t have it. Enjoy skiing and pray for snow!


  1. Kenneth Ulsh says:

    How about cable “chains”? The vehicle depicted will just get stuck again.

  2. Pat O'Connell says:

    Reflective road vest. Good for walks in the woods or sided of the road.Very easy to store.

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