As you know, Colorado weather can be unpredictable. You could start out on the road to sunshine, and end up in a whiteout blizzard in a matter of miles.It is that time of year, when we hop in our cars, trucks, or SUV and head out for the holidays.

Even though the forecast may be grand when you leave, keep in mind there are a ton of things that you may encounter while you are on the road. Here are some items that are a definite must to keep you safe from Fox News.

  • Cell phone. You can't call for help without a phone. And a mobile charger will help too since areas with a week cell signal can drain your battery fast.
  • First-aid kit. Pack basic non-prescription drugs in your medical kit, such as pain killers to handle holiday shopping headaches.
  • Fire extinguisher. A compact dry powder unit that's labeled "1A10BC" or "2A10BC" can handle fires fueled by solids (plastic, rubber, paper, etc.) as well as by combustible liquids and gasses.
  • Warning light, hazard triangle, or flares. Give motorists the heads-up that you're stuck at the side of the road.
  • Jack and lug wrench, foam tire sealant or a portable compressor and plug kit. Most newer models does not have a spare tire so make sure you know how to use the car's included "mobility kit"—and how to reach roadside assistance if you have a severe flat tire.
  • Jumper cables or a portable battery booster. New, "mini jumpers" can start your car as well as provide back-up power for your smartphone, tablet or GPS unit, or other portable electronic device.
  • Flashlight. Remember, you have fewer hours of daylight in most parts of the country during the fall and winter seasons. A head-mounted light can be especially helpful during tire changes.
  • Windshield scraper. Good visibility is your most important safety item, but persistent snow and ice can build up quickly and make it hard to see. A long-handled, soft-bristled brush can also come in handy. Be sure to do the heavy clearing with a tool, rather than the windshield wipers.
  • Tire chains and tow strap. Familiarize yourself with how to put the chains on your vehicle's tires or attach a tow strap before you need to do it in cold and possibly dark conditions.
  • Blanket, extra layers, winter hat. If you run out of fuel or if your battery dies, the vehicle won't be able to provide heat. A blanket, extra layer (like a sweatshirt or fleece) and hat can help keep you warm if you have to wait for a long time in cold conditions.
  • Chemical hand warmers. These small, inexpensive packets are available at ski shops and sporting-goods stores.
  • Water and nonperishable emergency food. Bring enough food and water to sustain you and any passengers for at least a meal—longer for remote areas or in extremely cold regions.
  • Small folding shovel. If you get stuck in snow, this can be a vital tool. A folding camping-style shovel will require more digging effort than a longer-handled shovel, but it is more convenient to store in the vehicle.
  • Bag of cat litter. Spreading the litter around your tires might provide extra grip to help you get unstuck from slippery embankments. Plus the added weight in the trunk might give a bit more traction with a rear-drive car.
  • Reflective safety vest. These can fit over your warm, oversized winter coat, yet still allow you to be seen up to 300 feet away.

Does this sound like a lot of items? Yes, however, in an emergency, they can be a true lifesaver.