Over the extended weekend, I had the joy of driving back to South Dakota to get all my stuff and my dogs. Made it out there safely on Friday and then it happened —  a blizzard.

I was stranded. Now, thankfully I was already at my house and not stuck driving, but before we made the trip back, there were a few things I decided to get just to be safe for the ride. Most items weren't expensive and they last a long time. So even if you don't use them, you can always keep them stored away until you do.

Obviously, number 1 without a doubt, is a scraper/brush. You usually need this before you even hit the road. Don't worry about a fancy one that adjusts to 100 feet with a blow torch (kidding). A basic one is all that's really needed. Plus, in the event you need to use it as a multipurpose tool, you don't want to break it and be upset.

Number 2 - Shovel. I had to use one of these to help get myself out on Sunday. The ones that collapse are great because they don't take up too much room. You should also use one with a metal edge to help break up the ice around the tires to help you get out.

Number 3 - Bag of salt. Great to use around the tires if you're spinning away and getting nowhere. As an added bonus, you can use it around your house to prevent slipping on the ice. Plus, a bag lasts a long time so it's not something you need to buy every year.

Number 4 - Windshield wiper fluid. Nothing is worse than driving down the interstate, when a truck goes by, kicks a bunch of nasty stuff onto your windshield, and you're out of fluid. Keep an extra bottle in the car just in case. Depending on how long of a drive you have ahead of you, check before you leave. Even just using it consistently while driving around the neighborhood can make you go through it quickly. Having that extra bottle just in case is worth it.

Number 5 - Roadside assistance kit. These have everything you need should you get stranded, including a first aid kit. It's a little more costly upfront but it's still less expensive than trying to buy each item individually. It can also stay in your car year round for any problems that may pop up.

I would recommend keeping a phone charger in your car as well. Most people tend to carry one around with them, but get one just for your car. In the event you get stuck, you want to make sure you are able to make calls and be ready if someone calls you.

Keeping an extra blanket in the trunk is never a bad idea either. The roadside assistance kit comes with one, but having a few extras for extra passengers or yourself is smart. Finally, a tip from a truck driver, when driving during the day in snow or rain, put on your sunglasses. It helps reduce the glare in winter and gives better visibility in both rain and snow.

Keep these items in your car to ensure no matter where you go this time of year you will arrive in one piece. Safe travels!


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