You may be one of those romantics who don't like giving (or getting) practical gifts for special occasions. Just wait until one of those gifts helps you out of a big predicament in cold weather, and you realize that practical gifts can be life savers.
Here are a few things you may give the cold-weather driver in your life—or suggest to someone else to give you!
- A portable air compressor. If you've ever had a flat and you can't imagine trying to change a tire on a snowy, winter day, this may just get your tire pumped up enough to drive over to the repair facility. Some are fancy and pricey, some are only a few bucks. They plug into the cigarette lighter/12v outlet and will take a few minutes to pump up your tire. But it could save you a tow.
- Portable jump starter. These are relatively small power units (they easily fit in a car trunk) that can jump start your vehicle that has a dead battery. Some even have an air compressor built in. If you've ever tried to use conventional jumper cables in freezing weather, they can be stiff and hard to manage. Really handy when there are no other people or vehicles around and you need a jump.
- Flares. When bad winter weather reduces visibility to dangerously short distances, flares can make the difference between someone seeing you broken down at the side of the road and them ramming into you. Flares put out far more light than nearly every other warning device; just ask law enforcement officers who carry flares in their patrol vehicles.
- A good tire gauge. Winter is when temperatures plunge. When the temperature drops, so does your tire pressure, so it's important to check your air pressure properly and accurately so you don't wind up with one or more deflated (and flat) tires. The proper time to check pressure is in the morning, before you hit the road and your tires heat up. Properly inflated tires are important for safe traction, especially during winter.
- Kitty litter. The lowest-tech gift of all. Keep a bag in your vehicle and it can provide much needed traction if you get stuck in the snow.
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