When it comes to driving in winter, the season throws all sorts of difficult weather conditions our way — from strong winds and heavy rain, to hail, ice and, worst of all, snow. No matter how long or short your journey, winter is without doubt the worst season in which to drive, and can cause all sorts of problems for even the most experienced of motorist.
Given the tough driving conditions winter creates, it pays to be prepared before the cold climes of the season take hold — and that includes carrying extra provisions in your car. Here, we list ten things you should carry in your car this winter.
The first thing you should remember to buy before winter arrives is a quality ice scraper and a can of de-icer. On a frosty morning, when you leave the house to find your car caked in a layer of ice; de-icer and an ice scraper are the perfect tools to quickly and safely remove frost from your windscreen. Remember — never pour boiling water directly on a frozen window, as this could shatter the glass.
When temperatures drop down low, car batteries can struggle to keep their charge — something that causes thousands of unexpected breakdowns each winter. If your car fails to start due to a flat battery, jump leads can get you out of a jam — provided you can find a fellow motorist who is willing to share their power. If you’re unsure of how to use jump leads, the AA has an excellent step-by-step guide.
Large quantities of snow may be a rarity in the UK, but if it’s forecast you should carry a snow shovel in case you or another driver gets stuck in a deep snowdrift.
Sunglasses? In Winter? That’s right — not only can the low winter sun cause visibility problems at certain times of the day, but also the glare from snow and ice can be incredibly dazzling.
Set off on a long journey in tough winter conditions, and you should carry a flask of hot tea, coffee or soup with you, as well as plenty of food and provisions for every passenger — perhaps even a little chocolate wouldn’t go amiss. This might seem like overkill on a short journey, but if you get stuck in traffic or experience a breakdown, you’ll want to thank us for the tip.
Even if you’re a dab hand at DIY and don’t mind working beneath the bonnet; fixing your car by the roadside in winter is guaranteed to be a deeply unpleasant experience — with howling wind, rain and snow out to hamper your progress. Car maintenance experts, Holts, recommend carrying certain tools in your boot in the event of a roadside emergency.
There are a number of products on the market that are designed to get you back on the road quickly after a flat tyre or breakdown, including our own Tyreweld formula. If you don’t want to be stuck by the side of the road, we’d recommend investing in some emergency car maintenance tools to get you home safely during the harsh winter months.
Experience a roadside breakdown or get stuck in a long traffic jam, and you’ll likely want to inform your friends and family of your whereabouts — not to mention call your breakdown provider. If your phone’s out of charge, it pays to keep a physical copy of essential numbers in your glove box in case of emergency.
Speaking of phones — did we mention that you should carry a compatible phone charger in your car, be it a power bank or one that fits in your car’s power outlet.
Getting stuck in your car during the winter isn’t just an inconvenience; it can also be incredibly uncomfortable. Carrying extra warm clothes and blankets in your car can lessen the unpleasantness, and ensure that you and your passengers can stay warm and dry no matter how bleak the conditions.
Whether peering beneath the bonnet or finding your way to a safe spot by the roadside, a good quality torch is an essential tool to carry during the winter — just don’t forget those spare batteries.