Winter comes early to Minnesota, and the snow and ice will be here before you know it. Even if you’re used to driving in Minnesota, avoiding a roadside emergency isn’t always possible.
To prepare for the snow and ice, here are 10 things all Minnesotans should keep in their cars.
10 Items to Keep in Your Vehicle
1. Jumper Cables
Don’t get stuck with a dead battery this winter. Although hot weather is actually more damaging to your battery, it often takes the strain of cold weather for this damage to show up. Charging electronic devices in your car will also drain your battery, so make sure to unplug them when you turn off your vehicle.
2. Flares and Reflectors
It gets dark early during winter in Minnesota, making it harder to see stalled cars along the side of the road. Keep flares or reflectors in your vehicle so you can alert other drivers of your presence if you get stuck. Flares and reflectors dramatically increase your visibility, encourage other drivers to merge away from the scene, and dramatically increase the safety zone around your vehicle.
If you use traditional flares, make sure to light them at least 15 feet behind your vehicle. If you are stuck on the side of a two-lane road, you’ll also want to light a flare at least 15 feet in front of your vehicle to warn oncoming traffic. Remember, never light flares if flammable fluids have been spilled. Or, use LED flares to avoid fire altogether.
3. A Shovel
A shovel can be key to digging yourself out of a Minnesotan snowbank. You probably won’t want to keep a full-sized shovel in your car, and a sturdy folding shovel will also do the trick.
4. Sand or Salt
Sand or salt can give you the added traction you need to get back on the road in snowy or icy conditions. Pour the salt or sand in front of your tires, and behind them for added traction if your vehicle slips backwards.
5. Flashlight with Spare Batteries
Even if you have a smartphone, using the flashlight will drain the battery quickly. Save your phone for emergency calls, and keep a flashlight with extra batteries in your kit.
6. Cell Phone Adapter (to plug into lighter)
Phone batteries drain quickly in cold weather, so make sure you have a cell phone adapter that can be plugged into your lighter. Remember to make your emergency calls quick, and when you’re not using or charging your phone, keep it in your jacket pocket to protect the battery from the cold.
7. First Aid Kit
If you get in an accident in the winter, snowy or icy conditions may increase the time you’ll have to wait for emergency assistance. This means it’s especially important to have your own first aid kit with you. Check out this list of items to include in your first aid kit.
Snack foods that are high in carbohydrates are a good source of emergency energy. Candies, trail mix, and granola bars are a few good choices.
9. Warm Clothes and a Reflective Vest
Make sure you have snow clothes, a hat, and mittens or gloves. A reflective vest also comes in handy if you are stranded on the side of the road at night and need to get out to shovel out your car or walk somewhere for assistance.
It may be a while before help arrives, so you’ll also want a blanket to keep warm as you wait. Remember, stay in your vehicle for safety and warmth, and avoid overexerting yourself as you wait.
A winter emergency kit is one of the most important things you can keep in your car in Minnesota. And, what’s equally as important for surviving the winter? A reliable vehicle that’s a match for Minnesota snow and ice.
If you are looking for a sturdy, reliable car to get you through the Minnesota winter, a used luxury vehicle often provides the best value. Call us at (763) 522-2000 or visit our website to discuss our inventory of winter-ready, hardy used luxury cars.