With some icy roads this morning and snow in Friday's forecast, it's time to make sure you have a winter emergency kit in your car.

Dover-Foxcroft Police put a post on Facebook last night, talking about the icy roads, and asking if people have their emergency kits in their cars. It was a good reminder to me that I need to make that a priority this week. I drive to work before 5 a.m. so, if I go off the road, there aren't any other drivers to flag down.

The Maine Emergency Management Agency has a great list of items that you should keep in your car during the winter months. If you never need them, you've had a good year. But, if you find yourself in an emergency situation, you'll be very thankful that you took the time to be prepared.

Here's what should be in your car's winter emergency kit:

  • Shovel
  • Windshield scraper and broom
  • Extra windshield washer fluid
  • Tire chains or traction mats
  • Healthy snacks and water (water left overnight will freeze, so grab a couple bottles before you leave each day)
  • First aid kit
  • Blankets
  • Flashlight and Extra Batteries
  • Pocket knife or multi-tool
  • Good spare tire, jack, and lug wrench
  • Flares or reflectors
  • Battery jumper cables
  • Brightly colored cloth for flagging down passersby
  • Cell phone with emergency numbers programmed in and phone charger
  • Extra boots, gloves, warm socks, and hat, plus rain gear
  • Sand or kitty litter (to help with traction, if you get stuck)
  • Salt (to help melt ice)
  • Map (to help direct rescuers to your location)

MEMA also recommends always having at least a half tank of gas in the winter. I would add that it's a good idea to toss a couple magazines or books in the car, plus toys or games for the kids, just in case you're waiting for the tow truck for an hour or more.

One last thing, that comes from my own experience. If you have a car like my old Corolla, in which the trunk is the first thing to freeze, consider putting as many of these items as you can into the passenger compartment of your car. Those large plastic totes are great for keeping the items organized and easily accessible.

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