With the first frost of the season upon us, you have to ask yourself, “winter is coming – is my car ready for this?” Every year, there is a huge flurry of activity and panic, as soon as the first ice appears and snow falls – you’d think us British would be prepared for freezing conditions!
Don’t find yourself without a game plan if you are stuck by the side of the road, with a broken down car, in the middle of winter! It can take a while for help to arrive, so keep in mind our recommended inventory before you set off into a frozen wonderland.
1. A Fully-Charged Mobile Phone
This is a no-brainer, but it’s surprising how easy it is to forget to charge your mobile phone. If you’re travelling with multiple passengers, it’s likely that at least someone has a working phone with them, but don’t take any chances. Make sure that your phone is fully charged before you set off and take a mobile car charger if possible.
2. First Aid Kit
In harsh environments, all it takes is a bad patch of ice for you to lose control of your car. Keeping a first aid kit in the boot can help patch up any injuries until help arrives, whether your wounds are minor or substantial. It’s always useful to have a few plasters to hand anyway (especially if you have kids)!
3. Breakdown Membership Details
Make sure that you have your breakdown membership card or details in your car, just in case you need help out of your snowy situation.
4. Blankets and Warm Clothes
Sitting or standing around, waiting for aid can be an extremely cold experience. Even if you’re leaving the house in a hurry, make sure that everyone leaves with a warm winter coat (ideally, keep waterproofs in the car). Blankets are always a good idea for long journeys – especially while your waiting for help to arrive.
5. A Foldable Shovel
Sometimes, snow drifts can be monumental and you might find yourself stuck! Keep a foldable shovel in your boot so you can dig yourself out, if needs be.
6. Ice Scraper and De-icer
A common problem with cars in winter is the screen or mirrors can cloud up with ice. A good ice-scraper and de-icer can sort this out in no time.
7. Supplies! Bottled Water and High Calorie, Non-perishable Food
You don’t know how long you may be stranded! Keep fluids in the car, including a flask of something warm. Stock up on high calorie, non-perishable foods to tide you over, until you can find your way home.
8. Torch, With Spare Batteries
Make sure you have a torch in your car at all times, alongside spare batteries. The days are short in the winter, and it’s likely that you’ll be trying to identify the problem in the dark. This is also a necessary item if you need to go and find help nearby, so you don’t end up getting lost or hurt on the way.
9. Tire Traction/Jump Leads
Sometimes, your tyres just need some extra help to navigate the slippery terrain. Road salt or even cat litter can help provide that extra grip needed to get you out of trouble. If you can’t get your car to start, portable jump leads may solve your issues, without needing to call for breakdown assistance.
10. Warning Triangle
In order to make sure that other cars can see you, a warning triangle is a must. If possible, also turn on the hazard and internal lights in your car, so you are easily noticeable. The last thing you want is an accidental collision, caused by a driver being unable to see you.
Are you ready for the winter? Leave your in-car survival suggestions below.