You never know when you will encounter inclement weather or an emergency road closure. Preparing a kit can be a vital step to keep you and your passengers safe in case of a winter emergency on the road. For a budget-friendly option, start assembling your own winter vehicle emergency kit with items from your local Goodwill NCW store, then fill in the gaps at other local retailers.

First, find a container. Store your emergency items in a bin, tote, bag or box. Keep the kit in an accessible spot in your vehicle. For options at your local Goodwill NCW store, explore the furniture area, where oversized plastic totes often are placed on the sales floor, or luggage area.

Then, make sure to pack these items in your kit:

1. Ice scraper, brush and small shovel: These tools can help keep your windows clear of ice and snow, as well as dig you out of a snowy spot

2. Food and water: Consider how many passengers typically travel with you. Stock non-perishable high-calorie snacks and water for everyone, including pets.

vehicle emergency kit hat image

vehicle emergency kit blankets

3. Winter hats, gloves, jackets, blankets and hand warmers: Winter temperatures can be extremely dangerous. Having these vital items will keep you warm. Select from new or gently used outdoor winter accessories.

4. Sand, salt or cat litter: If you need traction on an icy surface, these items can help. Having one of these items on hand could be a simple and inexpensive way to avoid calling a tow truck.

5. Road flares or reflectors: If you cannot move your vehicle safely off the road, these tools help keep your vehicle visible to other traffic.

6. Jumper cables/jump pack: Jumper cables can help if another vehicle is nearby. Alternatively, a battery jump pack is also a great idea, but must be kept charged in order to work.

7. First-aid kit: If there are minor injuries, you’ll be prepared with the right supplies, check out this article from REI to help with ideas for a first aid kit.

8. Cell phone charger and/or battery pack: Having a charged cell phone can help you make a call for help or provide updates to family members.

9. Flashlight: Emergency situations can happen at any time of the day. Make sure to have back up batteries and replace them every year. Select from a variety of styles of donated flashlights and lanterns on our shelves.

vehicle emergency kit flashlights

Many of these items are smart to keep in your car all year. Being prepared for hazardous road conditions and the emergencies they sometimes cause can keep you and your loved ones from serious consequences. Having a vehicle emergency kit can help you stay safe on the roads!