One of the best ways that you can prepare your car is by assembling an emergency winter car kit which you keep in the vehicle at all times. Whilst you can buy ready-made kits, the kit you put together after reading this article is designed to help you stay safe and pass the time whilst you wait for help to arrive in the event of an emergency.
Read on for a checklist of the 10 essential items that you should keep in your emergency winter car kit.
If your car breaks down and you need to get out of the vehicle, then you’ll want to make sure that other drivers can see you. A high-vis jacket will make this easier, particularly in the darkness and bad weather that winter can bring. It may be a good idea to keep more than one in your car to keep your fellow passengers safe.
Be sure to keep this somewhere that you can easily reach it, so that you can put it on before exiting the vehicle. Remember to turn on your hazard lights as well, and place a triangle reflector a few paces behind your car to make other drivers aware of the accident up ahead.
Torch & Spare Bulbs
When visibility is bad, a torch is a must. Don’t injure yourself - a torch can help you to make sense of your surroundings even in bad weather or uneven terrain. This can also help you to avoid draining the battery as you will have less reason to leave the interior light on.
It makes sense to keep spare torch batteries in your kit, and spare bulbs for your car in case you need to change a headlight. Without working headlights, you will struggle to see other drivers, and they will struggle to see you. Keep spare bulbs closeby, and do your research into how to change them ahead of time, so that you are prepared for any eventuality.
Ice Scraper & De-icer
It is a legal requirement that you keep your front and rear windscreen clear at all times, and you could face a fine if you neglect to do so. That means that you will want to keep an ice scraper in your car for when the snow begins to fall. You’ll definitely want to keep some de-icer in your kit to help you break down and defrost the ice on your windscreen.
Remember, hot water can cause cracks in your windscreen glass - best to opt for one of the aforementioned options.
Shovel & Salt
Likewise, a shovel may be worth keeping in your car to help you clear your path of snow. On snow-covered roads, your car will take much longer to brake and you may find yourself stuck. A broom can also help you to shift some of the snow. You can use salt to thaw ice and improve your car’s grip on the roads.
Jump Leads & Tyre Inflator
It is always a good idea to keep jump leads and a tow rope in the boot of your car in the event your car won’t start. Even if you don’t know how to use them, some kind driver might stop and help you get your car up and running. This is especially important in winter, as car batteries can struggle to hold their charge in colder temperatures so a flat battery is a real possibility.
Likewise, keeping a tyre inflator in the car in the event of a puncture - and other equipment that can help you to change a tyre or perform other related small jobs - can offer some reassurance on snowy drives. If your tyre hasn’t blown completely, then you should be able to inflate it enough to give you time to get to a garage for help.
Water & Snacks
Depending on where your car breaks down, you could be waiting for some time before help arrives. That’s why it’s always a good idea to keep a few bottles of water in your car at all times so that you can quench your thirst.
You should also keep some high-energy snacks in your car, which you can turn to if hunger sets in. Not only will this be a godsend on a long drive, but the sugar and protein can help you stay alert in an emergency - particularly in winter. Think sweets, peanuts, seeds, as well as protein and cereal bars. These are easy to store in your car, and could help you keep a level head.
Spare Phone Charger
Whether this be the cable from a phone charger which you can plug into the USB port and charge as you drive, or a battery-powered portable charger which you always have to hand, it’s always good to know that your phone still has charge in an emergency. Make a point of charging your phone throughout the day just in case, and you can drive in the knowledge that you have your phone to help you.
You may need to locate a nearby emergency phone if your own phone is out of battery.
Instead of burning through fuel with your engine idling - this will be the case if your heater is turned on - why not pack a few blankets in your emergency winter car kit instead? This will help you to preserve body heat, and is a must for driving in colder temperatures. Pack enough blankets from multiple people, and more if you yourself get particularly cold.
Other items which you may wish to keep in your emergency winter car kit include a cosy jumper, hat, scarf and gloves - anything that can keep you warm whilst you wait for help to arrive. This is especially important as your hands, feet, and face will get colder as blood rushes to your vital organs - stay warm so that you are ready to set off when the time comes.
The weather can change in an instant, which is why you need to pack shoes that can be worn in all terrains - be it snow, ice, or puddles. A pair of sturdy hiking boots and wellies can help you maintain your balance on slippery ground. After all, you don’t want to injure yourself in the middle of nowhere. You may also want to keep ice grips in your car.
Fingers crossed you won’t need to use it, but it is always a good idea to keep a first-aid kit closeby in the event of an accident. Plasters, antibacterial hand gel, bandages, paracetamol and any other medication that you need should be kept where you can easily get to it. You don’t want to miss a dose whilst you’re stuck in the car.
Why not make a physical note of some mobile numbers as well - like that of a friend or breakdown service - in case you need to call for help?
You may want to keep snow chains or socks in your car to help your tyres grip snowy or icy roads.
The glare from the winter sun can make it challenging to see the road, so you should always keep a pair of sunglasses in your car.
In the event your phone dies and you can’t look up what you need to, keep a physical map in the car to help you find your way. A notepad and pen is always worth having to hand.
Car journeys are supposed to be fun - for the more stressful or boring parts, why not pack some books that you can dip into whilst you wait for assistance to arrive?
Make sure that you fill up on fuel before setting off. Have a quick look at your car as well to check that your tyres are properly inflated, and your lights are working properly.
Now that you know the 10 essential items you should keep in your emergency winter car kit, you should be prepared for any situation.
The best way to get your car ready for winter is with a car service. Book in for a winter car service today, and drive with confidence no matter the weather.