Stow a box or plastic bin of these essentials in your trunk and you’ll be prepared for anything the season might dish out, whether it’s an iced-over windshield, a dead battery, or wheels buried in snow. Should you end up stranded, call a tow truck, then turn off your engine to conserve gas (before restarting, make sure your tailpipe isn’t clogged with snow), and stay warm until help arrives!
1. A shovel will clear away snow around tires and tailpipes. Scrapers remove ice and hardened snow from windows and side mirrors; a brush sweeps it all away.
2. Wear waterproof gloves (bonus points if you have hand warmers) when shoveling snow. Always keep a dry hat and blanket on hand, too. Grabber warmers, $8 for 10, amazon.com.
3. Keep a car charger that plugs into a lighter or USB port in your car, plus an external cell-phone battery with cables.
4. If you break down on a busy road, stay visible to other drivers with flares or reflective triangles.
5. To stop wheels from spinning, spread non-clumping cat litter or sand on ice patches to create traction.
6. Spray on deicer to quickly melt ice from door handles, locks, windows, headlights, and windshield wipers. Polar Premium deicer, $3.50, grainger.com.
7. If your battery dies, you’ll need jumper cables (make sure you know how to use them!).
8. Stash a flashlight and extra batteries for nighttime emergencies.
9. Bottled water and nonperishable snacks will keep you going until you get help.