BE PREPARED: Emergency Winter Survival Kit

Baby it’s COLD outside.

(this pic below is from last year… but it illustrates how I feel and saved me a trip out to the frozen tundra to snap a pic. Our house looks so nakey without the pergola!)


The other day, as Nick was walking out the door for work, I thought to myself… ‘we should probably put our Emergency Winter Survival Kit in our vehicle again.’ After all, it IS that time of year.

That same night, Nick came home from work at 4 in the morning (two hours later than his normal 2nd shift hours) and as he crawled into bed, he told me that he had been the first person on the scene to a fatal car accident..

The car had actually been following him for several miles, and driving erratically… so he pulled over and let them pass. A few miles down the road, he saw the wreckage and KNEW.

He called 911, and saw things that no person should ever see (bless our paramedics). It wasn’t long before dozens of emergency vehicles appeared. He watched for two hours as they pulled apart the wreckage and the two young men that lost their lives.

While this accident wasn’t weather related, it’s still a reminder of how things can change in the blink of an eye. What would have happened if Nick hadn’t pulled over for the drunk driver to pass? Would there have been two mangled cars?

It was 8 degrees that night… If he managed to survive, he wouldn’t have had a blanket or gloves/hat. He wouldn’t have had a first aid kit. He wouldn’t have had jumper cables.

These are the things that run through my mind.

Last winter we put together this Emergency Winter Survival Kit, and it felt fitting to share it again. Even if YOU are a good driver… just remember that your good driving doesn’t matter because there are plenty of people out there who are LOGIC IMPAIRED.

Be ready if you have to spend a long period of time stuck in your car waiting for rescue.

Here are some of the things we gathered:

Winter Emergency Kit

  • Snacky-snacks – you just may need the extra energy to dig yourself out!
  • Jumper cables – always a good idea to have with you, even in the summer
  • Blanket – it can be old, it can be ugly… all that matters is that it’s WARM!
  • Gloves/hat/scarf – no explanation needed!
  • Matches – and make sure they’re in a waterproof container!
  • Fix-a-Flat – Don’t let a flat tire be the reason you’re stranded!
  • Candle – again, it can be old and ugly!
  • Reflective strips – to put on your antenna, or yourself if you find yourself walking



  • A bottle of water (or several)
  • Chain or ropes
  • Baggie of kitty litter or sand for traction
  • Pocket knife
  • Flashlight
  • First Aid Kit
  • Windshield Scraper
  • Shovel

It goes without saying that if DOT advises you not to travel… just don’t. But if you’re stubborn like my husband, at least be prepared for the worst!

Winter Emergency Survival Kit... DON'T LEAVE HOME WITHOUT THESE ITEMS!

PLEASE be sure that your phone is charged before leaving the house, and make sure your gas tank never gets much below the halfway mark. If you end up stranded, run your vehicle for about 10 minutes every hour to stay warm to conserve gas and minimize breathing in the carbon monoxide. If there’s any snow in your tailpipe, all the exhaust is coming right into your car… so crack your window too!

Share this on Facebook and PIN… you just might save a friend’s life! Stay safe and warm this holiday season, my buddies! And FOR THE LOVE of all that is good and holy… DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE.

Sawdust and Embryos


  1. Your post reaffirms exactly what I’m doing today! I didn’t take a sub job, and am doing a bunch of things around the house, including getting our ‘annual’ winter kit in the trunk.

  2. Glad your husband is okay. Sorry he had to see those poor people. We are traveling in winter conditions next week. Thank you for posting your survival kit. I’m going to update ours this weekend.

  3. So glad you shared this post. With all the craziness of the holidays and baby coming, we haven’t put our winter kits in the cars yet. I’m going to do it as soon as Aaron gets home. Thank God that Nick is okay and safe. Things really can change in the blink of an eye. How very very sad for the families of those 2 young men, at Christmas time.

  4. I have mostly the same things. Plus:

    A couple pairs of large wool socks. Sometimes I’m wearing hose. And sometimes I have guests. They can go on hands or feet.

    Sensible shoes/boots (see above–not hiking in dress shoes)

    Duct tape

    • I don’t even know what to say to the accident. :( It hits a bit close to home and just thinking about it makes me rather ill. I’ve seen some that were close calls/miracles no on was killed ones and so stories like this just are tough to read and not think “just a little different and…”

    • Those are great suggestions Amber!

      It’s definitely such a sad situation. And a good reminder to make good decisions and be prepared for the worst. May everyone stay safe and warm this holiday season!

  5. Stephanie Radek says:

    Oh my goodness! What a touching story. Thank god Nick is okay!! Looks like he has a guardian angel looking after him.

  6. Makes my stomach drop to read this……SO GLAD Nick is OK and pulled over. I don’t even know you guys, but I want to run over there (well, I would NEVER run that far….even if you were a block away!) and give you a big ol’ hug! Life is precious!

  7. Normally I wouldn’t have a kit like this because we live in Texas and our winters of late have been mild allowing us to live in a false sense of security. As of today I am putting together a kit we just thawed out from a recent ice storm that dumped 3 inches of solid ice, crippling our community…it was a wake up call. Thanks for the heads up!!! Nick definitely has a Guardian Angel on his shoulder…Amen!

  8. Sandy and BIll Bright says:

    Thanks for your great reminder, Bethany. Bill travels to Cedar Falls alot these days so I need to get my kit put together for both of our cars………may your family have a great Christmas……these are the best years of your life with your little girls……….

  9. I don’t have a formal winter kit, as we live in a city, don’t drive in bad weather, are within walking distance to anything we may need, but I’m going to add some of these items to my car!

  10. Another good tip, especially in stormy, icy weather is NOT to get in the car and crank up the heat, take off your coat, etc. It is much safer to keep your coat on. If you slide into the ditch or crash, there is no guarantee that you will be able to reach over and put your coat on–which gives you hours of protection from a winter storm.

  11. Mary in NY says:

    Thanks for the reminder and so glad Nick is okay! It is making my mind up this AM to help a friend who needs 2000 dollars worth of work on her car to be safe! I saw lots of signs and then read this and know that the powers to be want me to do this. Take care. Merry Christmas! Mary in NY

  12. Like Lori who posted above….I live in Texas too and watched everyone driving crazy on the 3-5″ of ice that covered the DFW area for days. I lived in NH for several seasons but grew up here in TX. A winter kit has always stayed in my trunk. The reflective strips are a great idea! As you mentioned in your post, there is only so much we can do to protect from those who are logic impaired.

  13. I’m sorry to hear about the tragic accident and the young men and their families that suffered. You never know when your time on earth is going to end, it can happen in a split second.
    I thought of an addition to your kit, a car smart phone charger.


  14. Eh, I just figure that I could live for 3 weeks off the cheerios on the floor in my vehicle. (just kidding.)

    And our house had a “summer kitchen” with it’s own porch like yours. But sadly, it was torn off long long ago and replaced with a smaller entryway. We considered adding it back on but it didn’t make sense, so we didn’t. Check out the picture in my blog header, you can see it there.

  15. Thanks for this great reminder, Bethany. I’m going to put one together asap!

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