Winter Survival Kit

10 Things to Keep in Your Truck

Remember the uncle you had that was always so prepared about everything? He was the guy who kept a perfect log of his vehicle maintenance in the glove box. He knew who the most trustworthy mechanic was in town. And, he had a survival kit in his truck for winter and summer.

Winter is tough on vehicles and travel. Snow, cold temperatures, ice, slush and salt play havoc on a vehicle and our driving. The odds of truck drivers having a driving emergency are much greater in winter than in the other three seasons. It pays to keep a kit in your truck with all the things you are likely to need.

1. Blanket: If you are stuck with a truck that won't start and have to wait in cold weather for help, you will want a decent warm blanket as an extra layer.

2. Snow shovel: Get a short-handled shovel, probably a coal-type shovel, to stow in storage in case you need to remove snow from around the wheels of your vehicle. You can buy plastic ones, but you may want to opt for a metal one in case you also need to chip at some ice or compacted snow.

3. Flashlight: Keep a good-sized, water-proof flashlight with fresh batteries in case your breakdown is at night. Pack emergency candles too, as a back-up.

4. Hand warmers: Available at camping stores. Smash the bag and the chemical reaction inside will create warmth to defrost fingers that may be trying to change a tire or fiddle with an engine.

5. Matches: You never know when you will have to manufacture heat. It's better than rubbing two cold, snowy sticks together and hoping for the best.

6. Bottle of water and a few protein snack bars: You hear of people surviving on ketchup packets that have fallen between the seats, but some planning will yield a better menu under emergency conditions.

7. Syphon Pump: If being out of gas is your problem, and you get offered help by a good Samaritan, you want to be able to get a gallon or two of gas out of another gas tank to get you going quickly.

8. Light sticks: These cost almost nothing at a dollar store and can be used either as a light source or to wear in case you are shoveling snow around your wheels at night.

9. Flares: These should be in your truck in all seasons for putting next to your vehicle if you are pulled over in distress.

10. Whistle: It can be used to either signal for help to someone who can't hear you yell, or to scare someone who may be trying to take advantage of your distress. 

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