The holiday season has begun, and with it comes dangerous road conditions. Even if you're not dreaming of a white Christmas, snow and ice on the asphalt may end up impacting your travel plans. Even if weather is mild, severe traffic from someone else's car accident — or the long line of frantic shoppers headed to your local mall — might slow your journey to a grinding halt. Drunk, distracted, and sleep-deprived drivers are also out in force this time of year, increasing your risk of being run off the road.
In any case, you need to and consider what you'd do if you became stranded. One component of your winter preparedness should be building (or re-stocking) a vehicle survival kit for each of your cars or trucks. This kit will contain everything you'll need to ride out a long, frigid night on a desolate roadside, as well as items to signal for rescue or navigate to safety.
Les Stroud, of the famous Survivorman TV series and SMTVnetwork.com, keeps a kit in his vehicles year-round but stocks up on additional items for winter. In the video below from a few years ago, Stroud discusses why you'd need a vehicle survival kit and lists the complete contents of his kit. Even if you already have a basic kit in your car, it's worth considering additional gear you might need — or you can build a kit as a gift for a friend or family member who may be less prepared.
If worst comes to worst, you can also scavenge useful resources from your own vehicle. Check out our article Survival Chop Shop to learn which car parts can come in handy during a survival situation. For more survival advice from Les Stroud, read our exclusive interview from Issue 21.