20998862 - driver of the car is sitting thinking about somethingThe winter solstice in our part of the Northern Hemisphere is December 21. It also marks the first day of winter in the U.S. For those in the northern parts of the country, winter weather doesn’t always wait for the December solstice to make its appearance. Remember that states like Montana and northern Michigan can see significant snowfall as early as late October, and that snow may stick around until spring.

No matter where you live or the weather you face during the winter months, you should always take the time to check your auto emergency kit. Think you don’t need one because you live in one of those states with average winter temps in the 50s and 60s? Think again. Think you don’t need one because you know the area where you live like the back of your hand? Think again. An auto emergency kit is one of those things everyone should have. Period. Of course, what you keep in your kit will depend on where you live.

Edmunds.com recommends the following items for any kit:

  • Flashlight (and extra batteries)
  • Jumper cables
  • Fluids (like oil and coolant)
  • Small tool kit
  • Flares or reflectors
  • Tire gauge and inflator or sealant
  • Blanket
  • Snacks
  • Water
  • First aid kit
  • We’d add a paper map and a spare phone charger. (Did you know you can buy an external battery pack for a phone?

If you live in or will be visiting a region with cold temps and snow, add a little more:

  • Ice scraper
  • Sand or kitty litter
  • Add a blanket
  • Gloves, cap, scarf (and always take a coat along)
  • And it’s a good idea to add more water and snacks!

If you live in or will be visiting a region that’s hot and dry, swap out the cold weather supplies for these:

  • Sunscreen and hat with brim
  • Bug repellent

No matter where you live or where you’re going, always take the time for routine maintenance. Check the tires, oil and other fluids, brakes, etc. – especially if you are going any distance from home or taking an unfamiliar route.