UW Emergency Management

November 28, 2017

Seattle Traffic + Winter Weather = ???

Let’s talk winter weather preparedness!

Winter is a prime time for car accidents, with darker commutes and wet or icy road conditions. Add the notorious Seattle traffic problem in the mix, and well, are you prepared to be stuck in your car for hours on end? While having some type of emergency car-kit is always recommended, the urgency increases during the winter months. Whether it is a back-up due to a car collision, or you don’t feel safe driving in the weather conditions, we stronger encourage you to consider preparing a car-kit if you don’t already have one.

What goes into a winter weather preparedness car-kit, you ask? (I’m so glad you asked)
  1. Start with a small tote or backpack
  2. Find some essentials – likely already in your home somewhere
    • Warm jacket and hat, dry socks, sturdy shoes, gloves
    • Flashlight or headlamp; extra batteries
    • Snacks and a water bottle
    • Back-up charge for your phone (not just a charger)
    • Non-electronic entertainment: book, Sudoku, crosswords, etc.
  3. Put all of the above in your car – hey, you’ve started! Good Job!

Depending on how long you are stuck for, you may need to turn off your car to conserve gas. If it is dark and cold, you will need those extra clothes, sustenance, and something to do!


Click for printable PDF

For those of you ready to take it to the next level, here are a few more things to consider for your car-kit:

  • Tire Chains and/or kitty litter
  • Shovel
  • Jumper Cables
  • Road Flares and/or a reflective triangle
  • Gas container + gift card for gas

Bonus! Many of these items are similar to a general preparedness car-kit, so please feel encouraged to leave this kit in your car year-round! Check out the Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT) website for more on safe winter driving.