If you don’t look after your car in winter, the harsh weather can lead to a breakdown. Obviously, it’s better to try and avoid this situation by ensuring your vehicle has all the necessary checks before the winter period begins.
However, even with all your checks done and the green light from your local garage or car dealership, breakdowns are inevitable.
If you find yourself in a situation where you’ve broken down, you need to be prepared. If temperatures plummet below 1-2 degrees you could be in serious trouble until help arrives, so ensure you go into the winter period prepared.
Use this winter car emergency kit list to get the essentials:
1. Ice Scraper & De-icer
You might not get on the road anyway if you don’t have these essentials (and no, a bank card isn’t a substitute!).
It’s illegal to drive with snow on your front or rear windshield, so you need to ensure they’re clear.
When you’re at home you can boil the kettle or turn the engine on and blast the heaters; if you’re out and about you might not have that luxury. And if you’ve broken down it’s a good idea to keep the windows free of frost so you can get on your way quickly.
2. Warm Clothing & Blankets
When you breakdown it usually means you have no access to heat in your car, which can be dangerous if you don’t have any warm clothing.
Most of us use the heaters in our car so we don’t have to pile on the layers, so we’re often unequipped.
Put a few warm blankets in your boot and a thick coat, and if you have other passengers make sure they have the same.
3. Torch With Spare Batteries
You’ve broken down in the middle of nowhere, there’s no light in your car and you don’t have a torch. While your phone may provide a little light, it won’t give you the coverage you need.
If you need to venture out for help, a torch could help you find civilisation. Also, if you have children you’ll want to keep an eye on them and make sure they aren’t frightened. You can get a wind up torch that doesn’t need batteries.
4. First Aid Kit
If you’ve swerved off the road or had a minor accident then a first aid kit could come in handy. It’s a legal requirement to carry one anyway and they’re useful at any time of the year, but you could always check it’s topped up before the winter period.
5. Jump Start Cables
Flat or dead batteries are more common in the winter months because damage done in the warmer months doesn’t usually show immediately.
Also, battery failure can happen in any car, it doesn’t matter what make or model it is, or how old the car is.
Jump leads can help you get back on the road and get to the next garage or back home, which is particularly useful in the winter months.
6. Empty Fuel Can
Yes, it does happen. And if you’ve been there you’ll know how embarrassing and inconvenient it is.
If your car does run out of fuel you’ll need to get to the nearest petrol station and fill up your fuel can. Petrol stations usually stock fuel cans, but it’s better to be on the safe side and take yours, you could have a mammoth journey if they’re out of stock.
7. High Visibility Jacket
Some countries require you to wear a high visibility jacket by law, in the UK we don’t have to, but it could save your life. If you have to leave your vehicle in dark, cold conditions a high visibility jacket will help other drivers spot you.
Depending on the size of your car, a shovel could be quite hard to fit in. However, if you can fit a shovel into your car it could be the difference between you being mobile or static.
For example, if your tyres spin and you end up stuck in snow, a shovel could help you dig your way out by creating some traction for your tyres.
9. Water & Snacks
Especially useful if you’ve got kids and you know you’re going to be stranded for an hour or two. They’re easy to store as well, all you need is a four pack of water and some crisps, nuts or something that isn’t likely to go off.
Have You Got Your Winter Essentials?
We’d advise you use this list to collect all the essential items you think you need and go out and do a shop before the winter season arrives. Get prepared and ensure you’re ready to tackle anything that comes your way!
For more tips on winter driving, read the folliwing articles: