Building an emergency winter vehicle kit for Calgary, Alberta

Winter can be a rough time to hit the road, as something all Albertans can attest to. From plummeting temperatures, to sudden snowfall or a welcome chinook wind resulting in icy roads, the conditions can make driving during winter more difficult than the rest of the year. This means a higher likelihood of collisions and emergencies during the winter months, though there’s no need to worry if you’re prepared for the worst. In addition to all of the smart safety and driver assistance features found throughout our vehicle lineup, you can gain peace of mind by stowing away a well-equipped winter emergency kit in your vehicle. Read on to learn about some of the best gear you can pack to help in the event of an accident, with Calgary’s very own Jack Carter Chevrolet GMC!

What to pack in your winter vehicle emergency kit

Being properly prepared for an emergency is a great way to drive with confidence all winter, even if the road conditions aren’t in your favour. Read over the list of items below for an idea of what you can pack in your emergency vehicle kit to keep you safe this winter:

  • Jumper cables
  • Flashlight (w/ extra batteries)
  • Multi-tool (or a small selection of relevant tools)
  • Ice scraper or snow brush
  • Road flares, or reflective triangles
  • First aid kit
  • Bottled water
  • Non-perishable food items
  • Emergency blanket(s)
  • Emergency clothing (gloves, socks, toques, etc)
  • Hand warmers

By gathering the items mentioned above and putting them into a small duffle bag, you’ll have easy access to a wide variety of tools to help you in an emergency, or to keep you warm until help arrives. You might also consider a small, folding (or telescopic) avalanche shovel if you drive a vehicle without AWD or 4WD, allowing you to dig your vehicle out of the snow should you end up sliding off the road.

Emergency kit for larger vehicles

Now, if you drive a larger vehicle—such as an SUV or a pickup—with more storage space, or if you are planning on driving to an area where it will be difficult for help to arrive quickly, you can also pack the following items:

  • Folding (or telescopic) shovel
  • Tow straps
  • Tire chains
  • Bagged sand (or non-clumping cat litter)
  • A sleeping bag
  • Winter boots
  • An extra, warm jacket

The lists above are simply a starting off point. Whether you choose to include all or some of the items, or pack something else, is up to you. For example, most new vehicles sold offer USB charging ports or wireless charging pads, but if your vehicle doesn’t have one of these you can also carry a portable phone charger. Whatever you need to pack to ensure you feel confident should you end up in an emergency.

Staying calm during an emergency

Whether you’ve gotten into an accident with another vehicle, or simply slid off the road, staying calm and collected is your best bet to weather a winter emergency. Keep the following in mind, to ensure you stay as safe as possible until help arrives.

  • Take a few deep breaths, so you can problem solve your situation with a level head.
  • Once you are calm, check on any passengers in your vehicle to see if everyone else is okay (or need medical attention). If there were other vehicles involved, check on the passengers in the other vehicles as well.
  • Call for help. If there are any injuries, contact 911 immediately. Try to describe, to the best of your ability, your location as accurately as possible. Thanks to the inclusion of OnStar found on every Chevrolet, Buick, and GMC vehicle, there’s a built-in service that can help you in the event of an emergency to make this process even easier.
  • Remove yourself from danger. This means setting up your reflective triangles, and getting as far away from the road as possible.

Whether you’re on your way to Banff for some winter sports or a relaxing getaway, or you’re visiting friends and family out in the country, the road can get a bit rougher in the winter. But by being prepared with a well-stocked winter emergency vehicle kit, you can take away some of the stress that comes with winter travel. If you want to set yourself up for success come winter feel free to visit our Calgary dealership to learn more about what you can pack to stay safe, or other ways you can prepare your vehicle for winter. Because at Jack Carter Chev GMC, we’re not just southern Alberta’s premier destination for new and used vehicles, financing, service, parts, and more—we’re here to help you navigate every road in life.