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We’ve written before about important items to keep in your vehicle and how to prepare your vehicle for winter, but what about the things you need in your car during the winter months? Waiting on the side of the road due to a vehicle issue or malfunction is never pleasant. Add in sub-freezing temperatures and precipitation and it’s even more of a problem. Vehicle accidents and breakdowns are more likely to occur in the winter due to temperatures, visibility problems, slippery road conditions and bad drivers.

Make sure you’re prepared for just about any scenario and keep these essential winter items in your vehicle this season:

Blankets and hand warmers – this may be the most important item on the list. Whether you’ve got a flat tire, run out of gas or stuck in a snow bank, you’ll want to stay warm while waiting for roadside assistance.

Ice Scraper – a very key part of your winter driving kit. Visibility can be limited in winter driving conditions, so you’ll want to make sure you keep your windshield clear. It’s helpful to purchase an ice scraper with a brush on the other end so you can clear off other parts of your vehicle of snow, such as the headlights, roof, hood and taillights.

Bag of Sand – if you have a rear-wheel drive vehicle, this will help add some additional weight to your car with help with traction. The bulk of an engine’s weight is in the engine, so rear-wheel drive vehicles are more prone to slip and slide on an icy or snowy road. Also, the sand itself can be spread in front of your tires to help with traction if you get stuck.

Shovel – purchasing a compact, folding shovel will help you dig out of snowy situations and keep you on the road.

Windshield De-icer – a bottle of this product can help quickly thaw out your windshield and also be used on frozen car parts. In emergencies, you could also use it to melt ice on the road if you’re stuck somewhere and are having trouble getting out.

Snow Socks – these can be a good space-saving alternative to carrying snow chains in your vehicle. The fabric doughnuts fit over the drive tires and are able to increase the grip enough to get your car unstuck or up a slippery hill.

Extra Winter Clothing – you may not have dressed warm enough when you left the house because you thought it was going to be a quick trip, but you ended up stuck on the side of the road. Having extra winter clothing such as a jacket or hat can help you wait out on the cold while roadside assistance is on the way.