Having emergency essentials in your car could be a lifesaver, should you be caught in an unpredictable winter storms. Photo by Suw Carman-Anderson

During this season of winter chills and piles of snow on the porch, it’s as important to be prepared on the road as it is at home.

The recent raging winter storms in the Midwest are a great example of why it is so imperative to have some survival gear packed away in a car at all times. Being stuck in a car out in the frigid cold can be a nasty experience, but also a very threatening one if not aptly equipped with things to keep going.

First of all, a set of jumper cables can be a real lifesaver if a battery goes dead and others are around help get the car started again. Additionally, it could also be a lifesaver to someone in need. A pair of towing straps can also be a big help when stuck in a snowdrift that cannot be exited alone.

Secondly, blankets and pillows are nice things to have on a road trip, but in hazardous conditions, a sleeping bag will fully enclose the body and keep heat in. Any old sleeping bag will work, but one that is graded for sub-zero temperatures is recommended.

For these times, space bags can be quite useful to save on much-desired trunk space. Not only can they shrink a sleeping bag down, but these bags at their largest size can hold weeks worth of clothing and can be shrunken down to a very reasonable size. The bag should include thermal underwear, socks, sweatshirts and other necessary cold weather clothing.

Many are familiar with 72-hour kits, which are great when stuck at home. However, these kits are generally too large to have in a car, so here are the things to have in a simplified travel 72-hour kit:

Battery lighting, like a flashlight or lantern

Extra batteries (those lights won’t do any good without power)



Water-proof matches
Non-perishable food, like protein or granola bars, trail mix and dried fruit

Pocket knife

1 gallon of water. Cleaning out and filling up an old milk jug is a cheap and easy solution

Small first-aid kit

Any necessary medication for yourself and/or those who consistently ride in your car

Ibuprofen/ Tylenol

Toilet paper

Regular hygiene items that are used daily like toothbrushes, soap and other necessities

Small shovel

These items can be found in any supermarket and are invaluable when it comes staying alive. This kit, which can all easily fit into a backpack and be thrown into a corner of the trunk, should be updated and checked every six months, replacing outdated items and making sure it’s ready to be used at any time.

This all may seem too cautious for the average college student, but always remember to be prepared. Weather in Utah is notorious for being unpredictable, and one never knows when one may be caught in a blizzard and in need of these supplies.