Let’s face it if you have kids, you are in your car…a LOT! School drop off and pick ups, driving back and forth to practices and sporting events, and also all the holiday events. You and your car are basically BFFs. During the winter, you need to prepare your car not only for your younger passengers but you must prepare for the elements. We all have noticed how cold it has been lately here in Portland. The forecast has the temps dropping even further. So how can you prepare your car to serve you best this season? 

When planning to go out and you aren’t sure about the conditions (including traffic), Trip Check covers the Oregon Department of Transportation. The TripCheck website provides roadside camera images and detailed information about Oregon road traffic congestion, incidents, weather conditions, services, and commercial vehicle restrictions and registration.

You can always check AAA Oregon/Idaho for information about 24-hour emergency road service, travel, insurance, and financial services. AAA members also receive exclusive discounts. They can help plan out your road trips as well. 

Things to have in the car:

  • Ice Scraper-An ice scraper is an essential tool for the car. In a pinch, you can use your credit card, but if you are looking for a little more, check out The Spruce’s list here
  • Shovel-It may seem like overkill, but a shovel can be a great thing to have for your car. If you are looking for the best of the best, here is a list of the top shovels for your car.
  • Traction- When it gets icy or snowy, you may get stuck. It could be helpful to have some sort of traction for your car. You can use kitty litter or sand to help get you unstuck in a sticky situation. 
  • Flashlight-We know, we know you use your phone flashlight. BUT it is probably a better idea to have a legit flashlight in the car. Not only to save your battery but just in case the phone can’t save you. Popular Mechanics has listed their top 8 flashlights here.
  • Cell Phone Charger-Speaking of batteries, your car may have a phone charger built in, but it can’t hurt to have an additional charger in the car or even a power pack with you, especially during these cold months. 
  • Road Flares- Carry flares to help caution others of your situation if you are broken down or stuck. They also provide a safety zone around you. Typically, people will slow down once they see the flares. 
  • First Aid Kit-A first aid kit is always a good idea, no matter the season. Not sure about your life, but bandages can be a hot commodity over here. A well-stocked First Aid kit can help with all the bumps and bruises along the way. Forbes Health covered the Best First Aid Kits of 2022. Here is their list. 
  • Jumper Cables-Jumper cables can help kick start your car when you have a dead battery. Need info on how to use jumper cables? Check this out for more info. 
  • Chains-There are plenty of roads in Oregon that require you to carry traction devices with you. You can get chains, cables, or snow tires. Here is where you can find out more about Oregon’s chain law. 
  • Water Bottle-Always have a water bottle in your car. We know you have millions of them floating around, throw one in the car. Then you have the ability to get water throughout the day or whenever you need it. 
  • Water and Snacks-Bottled water can be a bummer, but having a couple of them in the car can save you if you get stuck. And ALWAYS have snacks. You don’t know when low blood sugar can creep in. No one wants to get HANGRY! Keep nonperishable items like protein bars, nuts, fruit leathers, etc. 
  • Gloves, Coats, and Winter Clothes-Keep a variety of warm clothes in the car just in case. If you get stuck you may have to get bundled up. Plus, you never know when the weather can change so be prepared. 
  • Blanket-A blanket can also be helpful to keep kiddos, pets, or you warm!
  • Pet Supplies- Speaking of pets, keep their supplies in the car, too. A little food and a water bowl can help your favorite furry friends be safe and comfortable. 
  • Bag-We all have a ton of extra bags…keep them in your car. You need to have them in Oregon with our bag laws anyways. Keep a few bags for your groceries and other things you may need. 
  • Wipes-Even if your babies are big, get the baby wipes. Wipes can clean you, the kids, the car, etc.
  • Hand sanitizer-Living through a pandemic, we can now appreciate having hand sanitizer on us. These cases of flu going around, and COVID is still around…use the sanitizer. 
  • Tissues-Those sicknesses also prove we need a steady stock of tissues in the car at all times. We all have had the nightmare of searching frantically for a napkin or anything that resembles a tissue when it is an emergency. 
  • Sunscreen-Always have sunscreen too. Just use it.
  • Lip Moisturizer-Keep those lips nice and moisturized. We know you have all the different ChapSticks…the purse one, the car one, and the house one. This is the car one. 

What are your must-haves for the car? Are you prepared for what life (and the roads) have in store for you?