By: Lisa Harper
Research suggests that you are twice as likely to breakdown in winter. Therefore it is essential that when you head out in the car in wintry conditions, you are prepared for all conditions. Carrying extra equipment may seem like a bit of a hassle, but in the event of something going wrong, it will prove exceptionally useful.
These are the items we think you shouldn't be without when heading out in snowy or icy conditions:
- De-icer is essential to clear your windscreen. It’s important to carry it with you as in the worst weather your windscreen may freeze over again during the day. Remember if you are caught driving without fully clearing your windscreen, you can end up with a £60 fine and three points on your licence.
- A demisting cloth is essential as the interior of your car will often mist up in cool weather. Having a cloth handy in the car means you can simply wipe the majority of the moisture away.
- While de-icer will help to clear your windscreen in really wintry conditions you made need to use an ice scraper to clear the car of ice or snow.
- A torch with spare batteries will help light your way if you need to venture out to find help.
- A fully charged mobile phone and a car phone charger so you can keep it topped up. This will allow you to call for assistance if needed and also mean you can stay in touch and update family on your whereabouts.
- A snow shovel will enable you to clear snow from the wheels should you get stuck.
- A road map will help you find your way if you have to take a detour due to a road closure. It is also a great back-up if the satnav struggles to find a signal.
- Sturdy boots/wellingtons are handy to have in the car if you do get stuck. Changing to sturdier boots will keep your feet warm and dry and provide extra grip if you need to walk to get help.
- Some warm clothing in case you end up stuck on the road. Driving in lots of clothes can be uncomfortable and restrict your movement, so keeping a coat and some extra layers in the car just in case is a good idea. A thermal blanket is also a good option, as it will provide vital warmth, however, when folded it takes up hardly any space and can be stowed in the glove box.
- A small amount of non-perishable food (maybe a few cereal bars) will prove invaluable if you get stranded somewhere. If you are heading on a long journey carrying a flask with tea or coffee means you can get a hot drink to help warm you if you do end up stranded.
- Something to help you gain traction if you get stuck in snow – it could be a cut off of some carpet that can be popped under the front wheels or even a bag of cat litter that will add grit to the road helping increase traction.
While we recommend carrying all of the above especially if you are heading out on a long-journey there are a few other aspects to consider:
- Fitting winter tyres is highly recommended as it will enhance traction and help to improve handling in wintry conditions. To find out more about the benefits of winter tyres read our winter tyre guide.
- Make sure your car is in optimum condition as it is more susceptible to certain problems in winter. Take a look at some of the most common winter car issues to get to grips with areas you need to keep an eye on. Or if you're not confident checking your vehicle then why not book it in for a winter car check at your nearest Stoneacre branch.
- Plan your route before setting off and give yourself plenty of extra time to get to your destination. Not only are you likely to be travelling slower, but you may also come across road closures or built up traffic and have to take an alternative route.
- Make sure somebody knows you are heading out in the car and where you are planning on heading.
However, the most important thing to remember is that in snowy or icy conditions if travel is not essential then stay put. For more advice why not check out our top tips for driving in snow or take a look at some common winter driving myths.
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