Camping & Survival

Winter Storm Preparedness: Everyone Should Have a Little Junk in the Trunk

Picture shows a snow-covered train track with a fallen tree in the middle.

Last winter proved that hazardous and unexpected weather can come sooner, end later and hit parts of the country unaccustomed and ill prepared for such events. That could mean heavy snow, dangerous ice and some rough driving conditions. It could also mean being stranded in a vehicle; an unexpected and potentially life threatening event.

Cheaper Than Dirt! wants to help drivers prepare themselves and their vehicles for the unexpected … especially considering the next imminent polar vortex. If you have the following list prepared, Bravo! Now is the time to reconfirm your supplies are accessible and in good working order. For those who may be unprepared, assemble what you can from items on hand and order the rest posthaste.

Susan Jones in Atlanta and her husband, Jeff, learned valuable lessons from the Jan. 28 storm that took over much of the United States, affecting parts of the country that rarely receive winter storms.

Susan was stuck on the road for nine hours; a trip that would normally have taken 20 minutes.

“The road was so slippery; if it had the slightest incline you could not drive let alone walk. It was nothing but a sheet of ice,” she said. “I was lucky. I always have blankets in my car, but road salt or something to get traction would have been amazing.”

Jeff was stranded in his car for 22 hours. While he had a coat and a phone charger, he had to abandon his car at times to seek food, water and a bathroom. He slept in his car overnight. The next day, when he finally got home, he realized his car had been hit several times.

Even on a relatively short trip, despite your climate, you can find yourself stranded for several hours. Susan and Jeff were lucky they had blankets and extra clothes to stay warm but there are other additional items everyone should have in their trunk in case of emergencies.

No matter where you live, Cheaper Than Dirt! encourages all drivers to stock their trunks with emergency kits to help if the unexpected happens. Also, check to make sure your supplies are working properly. What’s worse than a flat tire? Discovering your spare is flat, too (on an icy road, in the dark, without cell reception or emergency supplies…)

Stock Your Trunk with These Items

Some important emergency roadside items that can help you stay safe until help arrives:

  • Hazard triangle (with reflectors) or road flares
  • First aid kit
  • Jumper cables
  • Windshield scraper and brush
  • Spare tire
  • Blankets and extra warm clothing
  • Cell phone and charger
  • High-calorie, non-perishable food
  • Water
  • Road salt or cat litter to help with tire traction
  • Brightly colored distress sign or “Help” or “Call Police” flag
  • Candle
  • Matches/lighter,
  • Flashlight
  • Tarp for sitting or kneeling in the snow for exterior work such as a tire change

Of course, this is only a basic list and you’ll need to tailor it to your regional and personal requirements, but what else would you recommend? Tell us in the comment section.


The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (3)

  1. Talk to truckers, I have a thing called a : SNAPPY SACK , its electric heating pad folded in half in a sack that plugs into your cig.lighted outlet . You can put a can of soup in it and about a hour later you hot soup, or if you have frozen water it will thaw it out, can be taken out of sack and used under our blanket to warm yourself up.

  2. look on the internet for kits on how to make your own light weight tire cables ( aka snow chains ). I carry 1 1/2 kits cause 1 kit can be adjusted to fit all sizes of tires.

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