With cold weather throughout the metro, here’s what you should have in your car for emergencies

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Fighting the winter cold can be a battle on our bodies and our cars. That's something Steven Roy, a Mission resident, learned the hard way.

“Since I didn't have jumper cables -- the people that stopped that tried to help didn't have them either -- so it took a little while for somebody who did have them to stop.” Roy said. “That happening to me, I made sure to have them from then on, so that either I could help somebody else or I could be helped if I needed it.”

It’s help that Scott Banes, MoDOT emergency response supervisor, said more and more drivers are calling in for but few are equipped to deal with.

“Usually the colder the weather, we have more issues with jump starts, being out of gas and a lot of flat tires and the usual accidents for the rush hours," Banes said. "It's a good 25 percent more than what we have during the warmer months."

More calls means longer wait times for those stranded in the winter cold. But Banes said there are a few things we all should have in our cars in case we find ourselves stuck on the road.

“Ice scrapper, flashlight, snacks," he said. "We got some Fiber One bars -- some of that stuff is really, really good -- a little bit of grit, jumper cables, just an inexpensive pair, and a great life-saver: cell phone with a charger."

For just a few bucks, Banes said these small items can make a big difference. A kit so easy to assemble that Denise Smith, a KCK resident, is surprised more people don't have ready to go in their cars.

“I guess in their situation, they just haven't been put in that situation yet or just haven't had that information passed onto them yet," Smith said. "But it's pretty important to have those things in your car. Right now I have gloves. I also have a packet of hand warmers. I have a hat, a full covering for my head because I have been in the situation where my car has broken down and has not started and I needed those items.”

It's a lesson that Roy is happy to have learned from and hopes others will as well.

“If you have it and you don't need it, it's better because you never know when it's going to happen,” he said.

Missouri residents experiencing car troubles on roadways can call *55 or 888-ASK-MODOT.

Banes suggested a list of items you can get for your car this winter:

  • Ice scrapper -- Look for one that also has a brush.
  • Flashlight -- Make sure you have some good batteries in them that are ready to go.
  • Snacks -- Granola bars, peanut butter and nonperishable items are preferred.
  • Grit or kitty litter -- If you get somewhere and you don’t get any traction, it’s always good to have some to give yourself some traction.
  • Jumper cables
  • Cell phone charger
  • 50/50 antifreeze
  • Windshield washer fluid
  • Towels
  • Transmission fluid
  • First aid kit

When it comes to your tires, you want to add 5-10 pounds of pressure to what you had in the summer.

Banes said you don’t have to have everything. But jumper cables, some water, a flash light and maybe a car charger - these things make a big difference if you’re stranded and it might be 30-45 minutes until somebody is able to assist you.