Snow falling, below freezing temperatures, other people not driving safely, black ice, animals dashing out in front of your car, I hate driving in this weather, but 'tis the season. Some people just do not slow down for icy weather, sometimes because they are in a hurry or some because they have not driven in this weather or are novice drivers and do not fully understand the danger. The worst part is if you are on rural roads or roads not well traveled and something happens. It may be hours that you are stranded either due to the car breaking down, icy roads or animals.
Be prepared! There a few small items that you can keep in your car that will keep you safe and warm while waiting for help.
The first and most important thing I always keep in my car is an Emergency Blanket. I keep it in my glove box because the packaging makes it small and it's not in my way. I have had a few questions about how these work over the years and I want to impart what I have learned. They are that silvery color on purpose, this color actually reflects your own body heat back at you instead of absorbing it. This is very important in below freezing temperatures to keeping you alive when stranded. Wearing hats and gloves are important, they trap some of your body heat, but they don't contain it. When you are sitting in your car while you are driving you don't notice the heat loss since your body is generating its own heat and people usually have the heaters in their cars going to supplement this loss. These blankets do not have a rating because they do not absorb and hold heat, they just reflect your own heat back at you, if you know you are in a situation where you know you will be waiting a long time for help do not hesitate to use it. Also if you need to use this, keep all of your winter gear on, and cover as much of your body with the blanket as you can and your heat loss will be at a rate much slower than just hats coats and gloves by themselves.
Secondly, I keep and extra fleece blanket or two in the car so if I know its going to be a short wait I can just use those and not have to open up the emergency blanket. I personally keep 2 in the car because I often have kids or other passengers in the car with me.
Third, Water. I just keep them under the front seats you never know whats going to happen and how long you can be stranded. I always keep a nalgene bottle or a camelbak bottle full in the car only because they keep longer and are more durable than the thin plastic bottles that bottled water normally comes in and they are refillable. Also if they are under the front seats, especially on long drives, they tend to thaw while your heater is running so its not always completely frozen.
The fourth item I keep is a small emergency kit, gauze, snacks like granola bars and hard candy(in case of low blood sugar), and I am on heart medication so I keep two days worth of pills in a small container, all in a small back pack kept in the back seat for easy access.
Last, but not least, is something I personally just throw in the glove box next to the emergency blanket because I dislike being cold....Hand Warmers! I keep them in there as soon as October rolls around I throw them in the car. You never know when your going to use them, and if you do end up needing the emergency blanket it creates more warmth to trap inside with you!
So this season be prepared, drive slow when the weather calls for it and I hope you never need to use your emergency kit!