by James Hubbard, MD, MPH

You let the dog out one last time before bed, and you hear a yelp. Somehow she’s managed to cut her leg pretty deep.

Being a fan of The Survival Doctor, you know to apply pressure to stop the bleeding, but she just keeps crying. You know of a vet clinic that stays open until 11, and it’s 10 right now. You tie a rag around the wound and head out the door.

After a couple of miles, you hear a bump, bump, bump. It gets louder. You pull over and dig out your flashlight from the glove compartment. The batteries are dead.

You get out and see the flat tire. And suddenly you notice it’s cold outside. The wind has picked up and you didn’t bring a coat. There’s a lot less traffic than you had expected. Someone may stop and help, or not.

Either way, it’s cold and dark, and you’ve just noticed you’re low on gas. You think you have a spare tire but haven’t checked in a while. Thankfully you have your cellphone. You dig around where you usually keep it. Now where is that phone?

Winter is around the corner. And a little preparation can make a world of difference. Right now is the perfect time to inspect tire treads and make sure batteries in all of your vehicles are in good shape (have your local repair shop check them out just in case). And before it gets too cold, make sure you have the supplies already in the car for those just-in-case, never-thought-I’d-need-it moments.

Last winter I listed some basic supplies I recommend for your car no matter where you live. OK, maybe not the coat if the temperature never gets below 60 where you are, but still, you never know.

I also asked for winter car-kit suggestions from readers, and naturally, you came up with some great ones for the list. Here are a few. (You can find many of the items at The Survival Doctor store.)

Winter Car Supplies, Part 1

See my original 12 recommendations for your winter car kit here.

1. Cellphone charger for car

In my previous post, I advised always taking a cellphone when you’re driving, anytime, anywhere. But a cellphone without a charged battery isn’t much help. Several readers who were stuck in that Atlanta ice storm last year commented that they found that out the hard way. And a business acquaintance shared her experience from coming back from a snow-skiing trip. It was dark and cold, and the roads had begun to freeze when she noticed she were very low on gas. And her cellphone? Battery depleted, with no charger. Fortunately she had enough fumes to make it to the next gas station, but just barely.

2. Flashlight

Seems pretty obvious, but make sure you have extra batteries also. And, consider storing a headlamp in the trunk, with extra batteries, so you can use both hands to change a flat or treat a medical emergency.

3. Toilet paper

Just when you think you won’t need it …

4. Spare clothes

Click the picture to view on Amazon. (Affiliate link.)

Have an extra change in case you get wet in the snow or rain and can’t get home right away.

5. Hand warmers

The ones you activate by shaking. They can be useful also in treating someone who’s hypothermic by placing one under each arm and groin area.

6. Duct tape

And my Duct Tape 911 book to suggest ideas for medical uses.

7. Knife and bandage scissors
8. Kitty litter

A lot of people suggested this. Get the nonclumping type to pour around your tires if you’re stuck in the snow.

9. Sleeping bag

A few suggested, from experience, that this is more useful and warmer than a blanket (also takes up more room though).

10. Sanitary napkin

It makes a great bandage.

11. Plastic garbage bags

You can stuff them in cracks or tape them on windows. The trapped air gives a little insulation. You could also tape them over your shoes for waterproofing. Or, if someone needs medical assistance, you could cover your hands and arms with the plastic, using it as a crude barrier against bodily fluids.

Click the picture to view on Amazon. (Affiliate link.)

And what do you think about this product* (pictured to the right)? It’s a flashlight with a cellphone charger, window breaker and seat belt cutter. Seems pretty neat to me and provides one other tool some readers suggested: something to break out a car window in case you have an accident and your door won’t open.

What do you think? With my former post and these new suggestions, am I leaving something out that you’d recommend for a winter car kit?

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*This is an Amazon affiliate link.