Critical Items All Drivers Need In Their Winter Emergency Kit

Items that improve your visibility and make you stand out to other drivers are a vital part of any roadside emergency kit.

Flares, a reflective vest and an LED flashlight belong in every trunk, especially in winter, when the days are shorter and visibility is lessened.

“High-visibility equipment keeps people safe,” said Rick Raether, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Minnesota-based USA Safety Supply. “The gear should be as effective in the darkening evening as it is in the bright midday sunlight."

An LED lights that can be secured to your forehead is especially handy when changing a tire at night. Some LED flashlights are designed to emit an emergency flash, which is helpful should you ever need to draw attention.

Every emergency roadside kit needs a reflective safety vest as well. Made of high-visibility materials and accentuated with patches of reflective tape, safety vests are invaluable for drivers who find themselves stranded after dark or in the fog.

Here are some things to remember when assembling that emergency roadside kit for winter.

  • LED lights=longevity. LED lights are brighter than traditional bulbs, and they last for around 50,000 hours.
  • Visibility matters. A reflective vest’s main job is to attract attention. Look for a vest with wide bands of reflective tape or material along the waist, shoulders and chest.
  • Flares burn for various amounts of time. Some flares burn for a half-hour, others, 5 minutes. Look at how long the flare will burn when buying.
  • Handle flares with care. If the flare must be carried, point the burning end down towards the ground. This prevents the molten residue burning off the flare from harming the user.
  • Place the flare, don’t drop it. Dropping a flare can cause the burning portion of the flare to break off, extinguishing the flame.
  • Use caution when placing a flare. Put the flare away from spilled fuel or combustible debris.