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Get ready for winter with a car emergency kit

Santa’s checking his list, and he’s checking it twice. But we’re not talking about what all of the children want for Christmas.

We’re referring to the list of things he needs to ensure safe travel on Dec. 24, such as reindeer de-icer.

Speaking of safety, you should do some planning, too, and prepare a car emergency kit before winter announces its presence with authority.

You can buy pre-made kits, but odds are you already own many of the most important components.

We reviewed a number of published lists and came up with 10 of our favorite emergency kit recommendations:

1. Ice scraper: Stop by our office for a free one while supplies last.
2. Blanket: A great thing to have for napping passengers on a road trip, too. A sleeping bag is another option.
3. Gloves: You probably don’t have a pair in your glove box; put some in your emergency kit along with spare hats.
4. Shovel: The snowplow can only get so close to your car. You might have to do some digging out.
5. Flashlight: Make sure you have fresh batteries and some spares, too.
6. First aid kit: These can be purchased separately.
7. Jumper cables: Click here to learn how to use them safely. 
8. Water and food: You should have water for each person and pet in your car. Snacks should include energy bars. Choose small packages of food that can be eaten hot or cold.
9. Extra clothing: If you’re like many of us, you have multiple sweatshirts and jackets at home. Put a set in your car just in case.
10. Sand/kitty litter: Not only is the extra weight beneficial in wintry conditions, but sand or kitty litter can be useful if your tires need help with traction.

What do you think of our list? Are we missing something essential? We welcome your thoughts in the comment section below.

Meanwhile, it’s also a good idea to put the smaller items into a single container, preferably one that will keep the components dry and that will be easy to carry.

Remember to bring the emergency kit with you. It won’t do you any good if you’re on the road and it’s sitting in your garage. Keep the kit in the passenger compartment in case your trunk is jammed or frozen shut.

Keep your gas tank filled and your cell phone charged. Be sure to let friends and family members know your travel plans, including anticipated routes and arrival times.

Be careful and considerate, for your sake and for others who are out on the roads.

After all, Santa’s checking that other list. He’s gonna find out who’s naughty or nice.