The winter months can present plenty of potential problems for a driver, so it can pay to be prepared. Generally speaking, there are a few things you should always keep in your car, such as a warning triangle and a first aid kit, but there are a few other items that you might want to keep in your car in case of a cold-weather emergency, such as:
De-icer and scraper
Returning to your car to find that the windows have frosted over is a fairly common occurrence during the winter months. Unless you want to get stuck out in the cold trying to scrape the ice off your windscreen with your fingernails, you should invest in a carton of de-icer and a scraper, and keep them in your car at all times. This will make the process of clearing an icy windscreen much quicker and easier.
If your car breaks down in the cold weather, you can forget about using the in-car heater to keep you warm, as this usually recycles heat from the engine. This means that you’ll have to wrap up warm until help arrives, and if you need to leave the car, you might need some waterproofs as well. At the very least, you should keep a warm coat, a blanket, and a cagoule or poncho in your boot over the winter months.
Most driving manuals recommend that you keep a First Aid kit, a warning triangle and a fire extinguisher during the winter, when the risk of breakdown is higher and the response times of breakdown services are slowed by the weather conditions. Another essential piece of kit is a fully charged mobile phone, which will enable you to call for help in emergencies. You can ensure that you don’t run out of batteries by purchasing a car charger kit and/or a spare battery for your phone.
Reflective clothing and torch
The long dark nights of winter, coupled with adverse weather conditions, mean that visibility is much more likely to be restricted if you break down. This is why you need to keep a torch and a high-visibility vest in your car over winter. Before you pack it, check that the batteries in the torch have plenty of charge, as the last thing you want to happen is for your torch to die on you when you need it most. Although most phones have some form of flashlight on them, this should only be considered as a back-up, as it may not be bright enough, and will run down the battery which you may need for making emergency calls.
It is well worth keeping a small store of high-energy food and drinks in your car just in case you get stuck for a long time. If conditions are really bad and you can’t avoid making your journey, then you might want to pack a flask with a hot drink, a shovel to clear snow, a towrope, and a piece of carpet to act as an anti-skid mat. Finally, you should take some jump leads, just in case your battery runs flat while you are out on the road.