10 Overlooked Winter Necessities for the Car
Every driver knows that winter driving brings a new and different host of challenges and risks. While there are some basics that everyone stows in the trunk for winter--such as a first aid kit, flares, and jumper cables--what are some often overlooked winter necessities for the car?

A Blanket. Obviously, blankets offer a bit of warmth for occupants should the car stall or become involved in a winter fender-bender--but, blankets also can be used on the ground as a kneeling spot while changing a flat tire in the snow or attached around the hood to create a wind/snow barrier while checking under the hood. In a pinch, blankets may even be useful placed under the tires to gain traction when stuck in a snow drift or icy patch.

Extra Hats, Gloves and Socks. Even a quick errand has a way of turning longer, colder, and wetter during winter driving season. Sometimes hats and gloves are left behind or are lost during a school or work day and wet feet are common when forced outside a warm car unexpectedly in street shoes. An extra pair of warm, dry socks is certainly a winter necessity for every car and stashing an extra set of warm weather gear for every usual passenger of the car yields a little added expense, but is priceless in an emergency.

Windshield Washer Fluid. Driving in the winter is yucky business. Salt, sand, slush, mud and more find their way onto the car's windshield and winter drivers use a lot more windshield washer fluid than usual. Having an extra stash of windshield washing fluid may come in handy on a long, sloppy drive.

Cellphone Charger. A cellphone is a vital piece of emergency equipment for winter drivers today-but, a phone with a low or dead battery is useless. Stowing an extra charger in the car helps ensure that the cellphone is ready when it's needed during a winter driving emergency.

Tissues. While tissues are useful in the car year around--especially in cars transporting kids--the winter months bring extra need. A box of tissues also doubles as napkins or spill catchers in a pinch.

A Roadmap. Online maps and GPS systems are not foolproof or error proof. If the phone network or the GPS system suffers an outage during a winter storm or an online printout leads a driver astray-the driver could be stuck without an old-fashioned paper roadmap of the area.

Lint Free Towels. Stash a few of those little blue towels from the windshield washing station at the gas station-or buy a box at the automotive supply shop. Lint free towels wipe away interior condensation without leaving behind vision clouding residue during the winter months.

Bag of Salt, Kitty Litter, or an Extra Set of Floor Mats. Sometimes even the best drivers lose control or face spinning tires in the snow or ice. Being prepared with something to generate a little extra traction beneath those tires-such as sand, salt, kitty litter or an old set of floor mats--helps get drivers back on the road without a costly or time consuming tow truck call.

Non-Perishable Snacks. Whether traveling with kids or adults--a long winter time stall alongside the road may require nourishment. Make sure that snacks are properly sealed and non-perishable before packing them into the car for the winter.

Extra Batteries. Whether using batteries in a flashlight--or to power one of the kids' toys during a roadside delay--there may be times when some extra batteries are needed. Be sure to replace the extra batteries every few months to ensure that a fresh set is ready when needed.

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