We all know how treacherous and dangerous winter driving conditions can be. Roads we cruise along in confidence the rest of the year become icy, snowy, rainy obstacle courses. Whether you can’t avoid venturing out in extreme weather or a storm pops up unexpectedly, it’s important to be prepared. Here are 10 essential items you should keep in your car to make it through the winter - and get to your destination safely even if Mother Nature isn’t cooperating.

Ice storms can do a number on vehicles. The combination of snow, sleet, rain, wind, melting, and refreezing can make your car an impenetrable object: try opening a door or window with ice buildup - not to mention the time it takes to clear the windshield! Ice storms can also damage how your car runs. Most of this damage can be avoided by taking care of your car in some pretty easy ways. The other half of this is avoiding certain “quick fixes” that can cause expensive damage.

Hail and other damage can leave a car looking like it's had a case of the mumps. Your car has an irregular pattern of dents now, often looking like someone took a baseball bat to it. And it makes sense: pieces of ice the size of golf balls falling from the sky will do that. Even smaller hail still has the same velocity, so that doesn't mean less chance of damage. It just means smaller dents. What do you choose as the solution, though? Paintless dent removal enables you to fix the car without an invasive repair. A body shop is a more intensive - and messier - process that can also be effective. Which is right for your mumps- or baseball bat-victim?

By now you've seen a million different ways to fix car dents. You can watch tutorial videos online, and then you can watch all the videos debunking those tutorial videos. This makes it genuinely confusing to know what will really work and what won't. You also need to know what fixes might cause other damage, and how to avoid this. Don't make your only research a YouTube video. Dig a little deeper, read up a bit, and call a local dent repair business. Often, if it can be solved at home, a dent repair business will let you know. If it can't, bring it in and you'll avoid any unnecessary risks.