What would you do if you got stranded on the side of the road? Would you be prepared if you had to sit in your car for a while? This weekend's weather made me realize that I need to put together my winter survival kit for my car. Do you have one?

I googled 'winter survival kit' and came up with a list of 10 suggestions from the Department of Motor Vehicles.

  1. Blanket - If you're stuck and your car's not running, it's going to get cold very fast. A blanket could just save you from freezing.
  2. Snow Shovel - Get one of those compact-type shovels that you can put in your trunk or backseat. You could opt for a plastic shovel, but metal is best in case you have to break up some ice.
  3. Flashlight - Obviously, if your car's not running then your lights are not working. You'll want a flashlight to see inside the car and to help keep you safe when walking around outside.
  4. Hand Warmers - I love this one! You can find these in the sporting goods section of stores. They could just save your fingers and would certainly make you a lot more comfortable.
  5. Matches - Self-explanatory. You never know when you may need a heat source. Putting the matches in a waterproof container is a good idea, just in case you drop them in the snow!
  6. Food and Water - Put a few bottles of water in your kit along with some energy bars. Granola bars and candy are good for energy.
  7. Syphon Pump - I never thought of this one, but it's a great one! If you run out of gas and someone stops and offers to help, you need a way to get the gas out of their tank and into yours!
  8. Lightsticks - You know those green glowsticks that you just break or shake and they glow? Perfect for providing light inside the car, or hanging on your car or yourself (if you're out shoveling or changing a tire) so other drivers can see you.
  9. Flares - These should actually be in your car year-round to signal that you're in distress.
  10. Whistle- Why, you ask? Well, it could be used to signal others that you're in trouble. And it could also be used to scare off anyone who may be trying to take advantage of your distress.

That's the list from the DMV. I'd add a couple of my own.

  • If your car is like mine and the first thing that freezes is the trunk, you might want to consider keeping your emergency kit in the backseat.
  • Keep your cellphone charged and with you at all times. A car charger for your phone is also a great idea.
  • Have emergency numbers in your phone. I have Bangor and Brewer police and the Sheriff's Department in mine!
  • If you have pets, keep an extra bottle of water for them, a dish to drink from, an extra blanket, and a small resealable container of pet food.
  • Jumper cables and kitty litter (to give you traction on ice) are also excellent suggestions! Stay safe this year!