Backroads Safety In The Winter

Keep these items in your vehicle for additional peace of mind this winter

By Raeanne O’Meara

We are blessed to have hundreds of lakes surrounding us here in the Lakes District – this makes the region an amazing ice fishing destination. When exploring these local lakes, we often spend a lot of time in our vehicle getting to and from different locations; having a game plan for if something goes awry while on the road is critical. While these items can be handy to have in your vehicle any time of year, those months when the temperatures dive well below freezing are particularly important. Here are some of the items tucked into our vehicle so we are ready to get to and from our favourite ice fishing spots safely.




Many of the best ice fishing spots are accessible by forest service road. Although most of these roads are radio assisted, it is a good idea to ensure you have a radio – particularly if you plan on travelling on these roads during the week, as there can often be a lot of industrial traffic. Even on weekends, you may encounter low beds and graders. Having a truck radio is ideal if doing a lot of back road adventuring, but if you don’t have the budget for one a small handheld equipped with road channels can help.



A must-have if you are spending any amount of time in the outdoors, some form of satellite communication has become more and more affordable to bring along with you. Whether you use it to let your buddies know you’re at the fishing hole or to communicate with emergency services if something has gone horribly wrong, this is easy peace of mind to carry around with you in your vehicle when out of cell service.



Stashing away food items that are non-perishable and resistant to freezing is essential to have with you on the backroads. Food such as trail mix, granola bars and jerky all take up minimal space and can provide you with nourishment if you find yourself stranded in the wintertime.


Note: While you always want to have water with you, if you are in a climate where temperatures are consistently below freezing, it makes it tough to store water in a vehicle. Just be sure to bring some with you before heading out the door.


Roadside Emergency Kit

Whether you chose to purchase a kit or build one up yourself, a roadside emergency kit can help you or others in a bind. Some essentials are things like jumper cables, a tow strap, a couple traffic cones, a flashlight and a collapsible shovel are all items that can either get you out of a tight spot or alert others on the road that your vehicle is in trouble.


Warm Clothing/Blanket

Having extra layers or a wool blanket in the truck is something you will appreciate if you find yourself stranded in your vehicle without heat. Things like toques, gloves, scarves and even an extra hoodie take up minimal space. You might find that a wool blanket is nice to lay over your lap in the back seat even if you still have heat.