This isn’t just about Wednesday’s looming nor’easter. This is something we should all think about every winter. By this time of year there are certain things we should all keep in our cars that hopefully we will never need. Best case scenario you throw them in your trunk and they remain there for years. Big deal. Worst case scenario some of these could save your life.

Before a big snow hits, do your best to have the following in your vehicle.

A bag of sand or kitty litter. If you find yourself stuck somewhere with tires spinning on ice or slick snow, this can provide the traction to get you out.

A small shovel. You probably don’t want to waste the space having a full size shovel in your car, but a small one as long as it is sturdy is a great thing to have. Some compact shovels are made specifically with a car in mind. If you find your tires stuck in snow or if you full on slide into a snowbank you’ll be glad you did.

Jumper cables. This time of year bitter cold can kill your battery, or someone else’s. Jumper cables can save either situation and not leave you stranded.

Phone charger. If you do find yourself stranded your phone can literally be a lifesaver. But not if your phone battery is depleted.

A full tank of gas. This week or any other when a sizable snow is predicted, think about the unpredictable. If you get caught on a highway that is impassable it can lead to hours in the cold and dark. If you start with a full tank of gas you can run that heater.

Blankets/extra clothes. Speaking of heat, if you ever find yourself stranded in your car without heat keeping a thick blanket and extra heavy warm clothing can keep you from freezing to death in a worst case scenario.

Flares. This is the one thing I tell myself to get and I never do. Maybe this year I’ll finally follow my own advice. In a winter storm visibility can be low. If you’ve already had a spin out accident and you’re stuck on a road you want other drivers to see you’re there. The road flares can prevent an even bigger accident.

Ice scraper/snow brush. This sounds so obvious but this time of year especially is when some of us forget. Maybe we throw our ice scraper in the garage to not have it clunky and in our way through spring and summer. Now is when you might forget to throw it back in your car.

Flashlight. If you think you don’t need one because you have a flashlight on your phone think again. A real flashlight is brighter and much more maneuverable. What good will those jumper cables be if you can’t see inside a dark engine?

Extra windshield washer fluid. When your reservoir runs out of windshield fluid you might as well be driving blind. Keeping a jug in your car can make all the difference in avoiding an accident.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski. Any opinions expressed are Jeff Deminski's own.

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