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Winter Car Kit Can Keep You Safe

Update March 14, 2013

AP Wire Story

So now it`s past time to pull together the kit that can help you drive in cold weather.

In the trunk, people should include a box or bag with supplies in case the car breaks down in bad weather.

Start with basics, which should be in the car year round: jumper cables, a flashlight and reflectors. Then add the winter necessities: a blanket, stocking hat, warm gloves and, of course, a sturdy ice scraper (the kind with the brushes attached on the end work well).

If you are driving into snowy regions for the holidays, a few other elements should be part of the kit. Kansas Highway Patrol Lt. John Eichkorn says drivers need a metal travel coffee mug, a candle and a lighter in their cars in case they get stranded. The mug can be used to scoop snow, and a lit candle stuck in the middle will melt snow for drinking water.

Mike Right, spokesman for the St. Louis-based American Automobile Association, says people also should pack high-calorie foods to keep warm in case the car breaks down in cold weather. Take the opportunity to horde chocolate or granola bars if you insist on being health-conscious.

Discount retailers, auto-parts dealers and hardware stores sell emergency car kits starting at $20. They tend to include nuts-and-bolts items such as jumper cables and reflectors.

Creating a kit will cost a bit more because of additional items such as blankets and winter gear. Right sees a lot of parents giving their teenage and young adult children the kits as gifts for the holidays.

"The more winters you go through, the more you prepare for it, " Right says. "But it`s the inexperienced drivers who probably need them most."

Copyright 2004 Biloxi Sun Herald.

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