Essential Winter Accessories For Your Holiday Adventures
Unpredictable weather, shorter daylight hours, holiday traffic--winter travel adds stress to your commute and travel plans no matter where you live.
According to the Federal Highway Administration, some 70 percent of drivers live in snowy regions. And the other 30 percent may be traveling to those areas.
Pack for the next road adventure with items that help ensure the safety of you and your passengers. Here’s some of our favorite winter accessories:
- Winter Mats: Yes, winter mats protect your carpet from dirty and dripping shoes. They also may be considered a driving safety feature as rubberized, all-season mats with an anti-skid pattern on the underside helps keep them in place. Mats should also have deep grooves to trap water and dirt in channels. All vehicle models have a unique footwell. Ask for mats designed to fit your specific vehicle.
- Heavy-Duty Cargo Liners: Cargo liners are perfect for carrying soggy gear. Similar to floor mats, cargo liners are designed for specific makes and models.
- Heated Ice Scraper: These techy devices plug into your car’s cigarette lighter to help you melt and clear stubborn ice and snow. Some have extra-long cord and extendable handles. Some include a squeegee or LED lights for nighttime use.
- Can of De-Icer Spray: De-icing sprays can melt ice, snow, and frost on contact. They’re easy to use—simply spray it on the windshield and watch it go to work—and are effective in sub-zero temperatures.
- Cover To Protect Windshield: These covers are like blankets for your car. Drape it over your windshield before inclement weather begins, and it’ll keep your windshield perfectly clean. They’re easy to install, with no tools required. Some secure in place by closing its side panels in your doors and attaching the elastic bands to your car's side mirrors.
- Folding Mini Shovel: Winter weather can be unpredictable, and you never know when you’ll need to shovel your car out of a snow mound or muddy road shoulder. Shovels made from aluminum are stronger and more durable than plastic versions. They have a handle that adjusts in length for tall drivers.
- Rooftop Cargo Carrier. Don’t want to keep all that wet gear in your cabin? Or want to free up some cabin space? Cargo carriers come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Clamshell enclosures protect gear from weather and thieves. Look for racks with cushioned clamps to protect your equipment such as skis and bicycles.
- Electric blanket. These plug into the vehicle’s 12-volt DC outlet and provide warmth for your traveling companions. They also provide protection in case you are stranded.
- MinPortable power stations. They provide AC power while on the road. There are a wide range of choices including units for under $100. It’s like a phone charger on steroids--larger and able to accept AC plugs for your equipment.
- Roadside safety kit. Put together some essential goods that can help keep your family safe on your holiday adventures. Among the items that are easy to get but also easy to forget:
- Roadside reflector signs that can be placed near your vehicle to warn oncoming traffic.
- Reflective vest to attract attention. Look for a vest with wide bands of reflective tape or material along the waist, shoulders and chest.
- Pair of waterproof coveralls to keep you dry and warm if you need to change out a tire, affix snow chains or handle other roadside emergencies.
- Pair of gloves to keep your hands protected for roadside emergencies and during inclement weather.
- Battery jumper cables to give your vehicle battery a charge or assist when someone else’s vehicle needs a start.
- LED flashlights for those nighttime emergencies or rooting around in the car for a lost pair of gloves. LED flashlights burn brighter, use less battery power and last longer than traditional bulbs.
- Flares for accidents or when your vehicle is stranded. Some flares burn for a half-hour, others, 5 minutes. Look at how long the flare will burn when buying.