Quebec winters are a mixed bag: wind, blowing snow, snowfalls and ice storms. This is even more true on the roads, which can be clear one minute, then covered in snow or ice the next. Even though people in Quebec are used to driving according to the road conditions, don’t forget that any driver, even an experienced one, can run into problems.

If you’re stranded in your vehicle, are you prepared? And would you know what to do? Here are three tips for putting together a comprehensive emergency kit and knowing what to do in the event of problems, from La Capitale’s blog.

1. Gather all the necessary items

The following items are the foundation of an emergency kit that can help you deal with any situation, and maybe even save your life!

For all seasons:

• Waterproof matches
• Towing cable
• Jumper cables
• Roadmaps
• Candle in a deep can
• Emergency candles
• Knife or scissors to cut your seatbelt
• A blanket or sleeping bag for each occupant
• Fire extinguisher
• Gloves
• Hand-crank Dynamo light or battery-powered flashlight (change the batteries annually)
• Non-perishable food (e.g. energy bars)
• Multi-use pliers
• Several bottles of water
• Multi-purpose foil tape (duct tape)
• Whistle, to attract attention
• First-aid kit
• High-visibility vest

Items for winter:

• Snow broom
• Traction strips
• Spare pair of boots and warm clothing
• Ice scraper
• Shovel
• Bag of abrasive material (e.g. salt, sand, pebbles, kitty litter)

2. Keep your emergency kit in your vehicle at all times

Once you have gathered all the items, put them in a sturdy, easily portable bag such as a backpack or a sports bag. Keep the bag in an accessible place in the vehicle. Note: Some items, such as water, food and the first aid kit can freeze if you leave them in the trunk overnight.

3. Follow these steps in the event you’re stranded

1. In winter, remain in your vehicle to keep warm.

2. If possible, turn the motor off. What if you need to start it? Beware of carbon monoxide: Ensure that the exhaust pipe is not blocked.

3. Do you need some light? Turn on the overhead light, since it won’t run down the car battery as quickly as headlights or emergency flashers.

4. Remain awake and keep your blood circulating by moving your hands, arms and feet.

5. In winter, wear warm clothing. Is your clothing damp or wet? Change into the spare clothes in your emergency kit to minimize loss of body heat.

A first aid kit is as important as having auto insurance. Keep it in your car. This is a simple, inexpensive precaution that may save a life in the event of problems. So why go without one?

Take advantage of the partnership between Communauto and La Capitale!

If you’re already a Communauto member, ask for an insurance quote from La Capitale to get an exclusive, additional 5% discount on your home, auto or leisure vehicle insurance!