You've probably seen the list of the 16 items to have in your car in the winter, especially if you live in Minnesota, Iowa, or Wisconsin. That's not the items I'm talking about. Well, some of them are on that list but it's not 16 items, it's less than that and these seem really manageable to me.

It sounds like the worst of this week's snowstorm hits today and tonight. There's going to be lots of snow and the last I checked lots of wind too. And if your car gets stuck somewhere, you'll want to be prepared.

Experts are saying to travel as little as possible. But if you have to go out, first of all, take it slow, no need to rush anywhere. Second of all, please make sure you have these items in your car! They'll keep you safe if you end up in a crash, in a ditch, with a dead battery, whatever it is.

Irina Igumnova
Irina Igumnova

Like I mentioned earlier, there's that list of 16 items. Of course, it's best to have all 16 but I thought this list of 12 that I found from KARE 11 is the most manageable while still having the essentials.

Items to Have in Your Car in Winter

A flashlight. Yes, your phone has one, but it's easy to toss a flashlight in the car just in case your phone doesn't have enough battery life.

A first aid kit.

A snow shovel. And it doesn't need to be big, I have a tiny one just in case I get stuck somewhere.

And ice scraper with a brush. If you don't already have that in your car... congrats?

Blankets and/or a sleeping bag. Something that will keep you warm if you're without heat.

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Non-perishable food like granola bars, nuts, stuff like that. When I head out the door for a longer drive I almost always grab a snack so do the same if you're going out into the storm.


Jumper cables.

Extra clothes like mittens, a hat, and extra pair of boots. Same with the snacks, if I'm going out on a longer trip in the cold, I'll usually grab a few extra clothing items on the way out.

Sand or kitty litter. Obviously, a bag of that stuff is heavy. I never have this in my car but if you're going out into the storm, I'd say better safe than sorry. You can scoop some into a smaller container so it's not as heavy.

Your phone and a charger. The charger is the important thing to remember since you'll likely already have your phone on you.

And finally, something bright. Ideally flares or orange triangles/cones but I believe the reasoning behind this is so you're visible. So grab a bright shirt or something and if you need to you can shut it in your door so people can see you.

There you go! The items you should have in your car if you're planning to head out in the storm that's coming. And these are good to have in your car any time you're driving in the winter but especially if you're going long distances and/or there's a storm. Stay safe!

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