Driving in Arizona's high country in the winter? Here's what to keep in your car

By David Woodfill / ADOT Communications

I'm just going to say it: I hate the cold.

Winter preparedness kitAnything under, say, 70 degrees, and I'm a whining, grumbling malcontent. So, as the weather outside turns cold and gray, you can often find me hovering near a space heater, or swathed in some combination of flannel and wool on my couch.

To that end, I know that I'm in big trouble if I get stranded unprepared in my car during winter, so I have a checklist of things to pack, including the following:

  • Fully-charged cell phone
  • Extra food and water
  • Necessary medications, prescriptions
  • First-aid kit
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Extra blankets or clothes
  • Ice scraper
  • Kitty litter or sand for wheel traction
  • Safety flares
  • Bruce Spingsteen's greatest hit CD

OK, maybe the Springsteen CD isn't that necessary – your musical taste might be different – but the point is that traveling in winter weather is serious business and potentially dangerous if you break down or get stuck behind a road closure. Arizona may not be renowned for its wintery weather, but the high country can receive a lot of snowfall in short periods of time – remember when Flagstaff got 36 inches in a 24-hour period in 2019? – that can impact even the best-laid travel plans. Taking a few measures to increase your comfort and safety is just, well, common sense. 

I also make sure my vehicle is prepared by packing chains, using the proper antifreeze, checking my windshield wiper blades and fluid, lights and fluid and changing my oil to winter grade. 

So, before winter officially arrives, put together an emergency kit and get your vehicle winterized.

And don't forget to bring along "The Boss." I recommend the Nebraska album. 

For more information on safe winter driving check out our “Know Snow” tips. If you have any questions, hit us up on Twitter or Facebook.

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