Winter is already in full force, but it's never too late to equip your car with the necessary essential tools every driver should have until spring comes around.
Here's our list of five items all drivers should have during the winter.
1. Ice Scraper:
It doesn't take long for ice to build up on your car in the winter if conditions are right. Ice can reduce your visibility on the road a great deal, so it is important to keep an ice scraper in your car at all times to quickly remove anything blocking your vision.
What to buy: The Heated Ice Scraper available on Sharper Image is a good option to try, but if you want just an average ice scraper then try the Mallory 532 26-inch Snow Brush with foam grip and ice scraper available on Amazon.
It never hurts to have a spare shovel in your trunk during the winter. Whether you're trying to break down the wall of snow a plow left on your driveway or clearing out an available parking spot at work, a shovel is a key item everyone should have in their car.
What to buy: There are thousands of different shovel options available on the internet or at your local Home Depot. It really depends how big your car is. The AAA 4004 Red Aluminum Sport Utility Shove, available on Amazon, is a good option to consider. It adjusts from 25-inches to 32-inches for multiple uses and is ideal for a car, truck SUV or even a snowmobile.
3. Jumper Cables:
Dead batteries happen to the best of us. It's even worse when it happens during a snowstorm. Being prepared can make all the difference however and that starts with having a nice pair of jumper cables. Jumper cables are easy to use and if you keep them in your trunk at all times all you'll need is a second car to provide a jump, no matter if it's an available friend or just a good Samaritan.
What to buy: Amazon sells 4-gauge, heavy-duty, no-tangle Cartman Heavy Duty Booster Cables for $31.99.
4. Cat Litter or Salt
Icy roads can cause a traction nightmare for you and your vehicle. It's a good idea to go out and buy some cat litter or salt and just keep it in your car to help provide traction on a slick road surface. It might not be fun to carry around cat litter or salt in your car but you'll be kicking yourself if you get stuck somewhere and don't have any.
What to buy: Rock salt is ideal, but table salt will also work, just be prepared to use a lot of it. Any cat litter will do, like Fresh Step litter available at PetSmart.
5. Cell Phone:
We're not suggesting you use your cell phone while driving, but having a phone handy in the event an emergency during the winter could save your life. Say your car breaks down and it's below freezing out. Plus you're nowhere near a store or house. Having a cell phone will let you call for help instead of being stuck in the freezing cold unsure of what to do next. Always make sure to charge your phone before leaving the house as well. Having a dead phone will do you no good.
* If you absolutely can't afford a phone, carry a blanket in your car at all times along with a white cloth to hang out of your car until a patrol vehicle passes.
What to buy: If you don't already have a cell phone it all depends on what you're looking to get out of your phone and your price range. The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is available for $300 through a two-year contract in the U.S. and Apple's 4.7-inch iPhone 6 is available for $200 on contract.