Many of us dread the winter roads when it comes to the commute to work, or a long drive for Christmas spent away from home, especially with our unreliable weather! Whilst it’s typically the season of delays, arming yourself with the right kit will make a big difference if you do get stuck. Winter doesn’t need to be hell on the roads when you have these crucial items to get you through this time of the year.
Car phone charger/power pack- If you get stranded for a few hours or even overnight and your phone isn’t fully charged then there is always a risk that the battery could run dry. Having a portable mobile phone charger can help to prevent this from happening.
Sat Nav- An up to date Sat Nav will be able to tell you the latest road traffic, new paths, new bridges and new roads that won’t necessarily show up on an out of date Sat Nav. If a road is closed due to bad weather, or accidents etc., your Sat Nav will be able to make you aware of this and advise you on an alternative route.
Map- This might sound like an obvious one to us all, however, you’d be surprised at the number of people who rely purely on technology, such as a Sat Nav to get them places. Whilst a Sat Nav is great, a road atlas will not break down or switch off mid journey.
A blanket, rug or sleeping bag- If your car is stuck in snow and won’t start, the ability to keep yourself warm is going to be absolutely vital. Blankets and other warm items are a great way of keeping yourself warm.
Shovel- If you get stuck in the snow (or mud) then a shovel could be a life saver for you. It may be worth investing in a proper snow shovel, it helps to clear any snow far quicker than a standard one.
Ice scraper and de icer- 42% of drivers do not carry de-icer in their vehicle. Always carry an ice scraper to get rid of the ice on your windscreen on a cold winter morning when in a rush to get to work. De-icer will allow the ice to melt quicker, getting you on the road safely and with clear visibility in no time.
Snacks- Not only will keeping food in your car stop you from getting hungry if you’re stuck in your car, but it will also help to increase your body temperature. Eating generically increases body temperature by up to 2 degrees. Consider storing high calorie food bars or other non- spoilable food, such as cereal bars or chocolate.
Extra screenwash- Over two thirds of drivers do not check their anti freeze, oil or water before setting off on a winter journey. Screenwash comes in many forms, but can generally be bought as a ready mixed bottle, or a concentrated for yourself to dilute at home yourself. In summer, a normal dilution will be 1:10, however in winter this should be a ratio of 1:1. Not only does screenwash stop the water from freezing in the water reservoir, but also gets rid of grease build ups on windscreens.
Hazard warning triangle- If you have a breakdown on a carriageway, you should put a warning triangle on the road at least 45 metres (147 feet) behind your broken down vehicle on the same side of the road. Never use them on motorways.
High visibility jacket/clothing- You want to make sure that if you do break down on a busy road say, you want to be seen if you are fixing a problem (this is where a hazard warning sign also comes in useful).
Water- Most people can survive days without food, but without water you could dehydrate and it could be much more fatal. So it’s extremely important to carry bottles of water with you. In addition, if your car overheats the water can be used to cool it enough to get it running!
Flashlight- A flashlight will allow you to see what’s going on and also aid in signalling help. Get one with a very bright bulb and make sure it’s charged!