What should be in your car this winter?

January 24, 2012 9:33:55 AM PST
Now that the Chicago area is finally getting its share of snow, it's a good idea to review what every driver should have in their car's roadside emergency kit.

If you become stranded in the winter, AAA advises that it is usually best to stay with your vehicle rather than risk exposure or becoming lost while seeking help. Always keep at least a half a tank of gas in your car during cold weather. Check your battery strength. Faulty batteries cause more car starting problems than any other factor. At 0 degrees, a good battery has 35 percent less starting power. In these cases, a winter survival kit could save your life.

    AAA recommends all motorists carry the following items in their vehicles during the winter months:
  • Cell phone
  • Ice scraper & brush
  • Extra Boots, gloves, hat, blanket
  • Tools & flashlight
  • Tire traction material such as sand or cat litter
  • Shovel
  • Jumper cables
  • Flares or reflective triangle
  • Food
  • First aid kit

    AAA's Winter Driving Tips
  • Clear snow and ice from vehicle to improve visibility. Include hood, roof, trunk, turn signals, tail lights and headlights.
  • Slow down when visibility and road conditions are impaired, and increase the following distance between vehicles.
  • Anticipate dangers including ice on bridges, hidden lane markings, stalled cars and poor visibility.
  • Use proper winter braking techniques. For cars without anti-lock brakes, use "squeeze" or "threshold" braking by applying the brakes just short of lock-up, then easing off the brake pedal slightly. For vehicles with anti-lock brakes, continuous, firm braking is necessary.
  • Avoid skids by easing off the accelerator and not locking up the brakes. In a skid, carefully steer in the direction you want your vehicle to go and straighten the wheel as soon as the car begins to go in the desired direction.

More safe winter driving information is available through your local AAA Chicago office or online at: aaa.com.