Ice build up on a car.

Ice build up on a car.

Forecasters say a wide section of Iowa may get walloped by its first significant snowstorm later today, so motorists need to take a few precautions, pronto. Ann Avery, the Iowa spokeswoman for State Farm Insurance, says an emergency kit is a must for your vehicle’s trunk.

“With the first snowfall of the season coming and Thanksgiving travel beginning for many families, now is a great time to think about looking in your trunk and taking out the things you’ve been using all summer that you won’t be using this winter and making sure you have emergency travel supplies,” Avery says, “so if you are on the road and something unexpected happens, you will be prepared.”

There are several staples that should be in everyone’s vehicle, before the winter winds start whipping. “Some of the things include: jumper cables and making sure you have an ice scraper back in the car,” Avery says. “Check the spare tire, make sure it’s in the car and that it’s at the proper inflation. Be sure you have blankets, extra warm clothing. A cell phone charger — we depend on that cell phone. If you get into an emergency, make sure you are able to charge it.”

Other helpful items to have handy include: road salt or cat litter to help with tire traction, a flashlight (with working batteries), matches or a lighter, duct tape, a small tool kit and a tow strap. Avery offers a few more suggestions. “A first aid kit, water, food that won’t expire in the trunk, and crucial medications,” Avery says. “If you should get caught and stuck on the side of the road, you want to make sure you have those medications.”

If there’s a teenage driver under your roof, Avery says you should talk to them about the importance of this kit. “Our information shows a lot of teens reported not having all the necessary supplies they need in their trunk,” Avery says. “Check the car the teen is using as well. Have them put the emergency kit together with you so they see what goes into it and understand why it’s all there.”

Other items that you might consider for your emergency kit are: a hazard triangle with reflectors, flares, a brightly-colored flag or “HELP” sign, and a tarp for sitting or kneeling in the snow for doing exterior work like a tire change.