Driving in the winter is dangerous. There’s no doubt about that. And in the UK, we’re a little less adapted to the severe chill that winter brings. If you’re daring to take this on, then you need to make sure you are equipped with the essential accessories to get through the season.
This list isn’t exhaustive. But if you’re after the bare minimum, why not have a look for emergency winter car kits from places like Amazon, Halfords and service stations. They will be equipped with the essentials like small shovels, torches and jump leads.
Top 11 winter car accessories
1. Ice scraper
This may be your most important accessory. Since driving without a properly de-iced windscreen is actually illegal, it can make your insurance invalid too.
De-icer is a massive help for de-icing your windscreen without lots of time or effort.
When driving in the winter, you’ll use a lot more screen wash than you would normally due to the excess amount of debris on the road. It’s pretty essential to keep spare on you so you can keep on driving whatever the circumstance.
The nights are longer, and if it’s snowing, you’ll have limited daylight too. A torch is an integral part of your winter accessory kit so you can stay illuminated if you get stranded.
You’ll want one of these should you ever need to dig yourself out of the snow. If you opted to take a smaller road, then there will be a lot less traffic and you’ll be harder to reach, so being prepared with a shovel is essential.
6. Mobile phone (and phone charger)
Keep your phone on you with plenty of battery (and credit should you need it) so you can get in touch with someone, like breakdown assistance, when you need it most.
7. Blanket/warm clothes
Make sure you don’t forget the gloves! Blankets are vital if you end up stranded in your car for a long time, and that’s happening more in the UK in recent years. (Remember in Feb/March 2018, people were stuck overnight in their cars on the M80 in Scotland?) Warm clothes are essential if you get yourself wet trying to dig out of the snow, especially if you can’t use the heaters in your car to warm up.
8. Food and drink – not perishable
You are certain to need food and drink if you’re stuck in your car for an extended period of time. Ensure that the food you keep in your car isn’t perishable – and keep in mind that snacks like cereal bars will have a lot of energy in small packets.
With limited visibility and less traction on the road in winter conditions, if you’re stranded you’ll need to let other traffic know you’re there ASAP.
10. Jump leads
Since you’re likely to be sticking the heat on full, your battery is more likely to give up in the cold. Jump leads are the easiest and quickest way to get you moving again.
11. Traction tracks
Although UK weather is getting worse, we are unlikely to need snow chains or socks for the most part of the winter.
Traction tracks are a compact solution to get you moving again should you get bogged down in the snow, and the best part is, they can be used for mud, grass and sand too.
Others to think about
This is perfect to help you out if you are going to commute. No one likes having to stand in the cold and de-ice the windscreen when you’re already behind schedule.
Should one of your headlamps pop in wintery conditions, it will need to be replaced as soon as possible for the best visibility of the road. Carrying spare bulbs is the easiest way to keep yourself safe on the move, and this is good practice throughout the rest of the year too.
Yes, the paper kind. Electric ones can run out of battery.
This is an essential car accessory throughout the year – not just winter. But, since you are more likely to need it during the season, it’s the ideal time to check it has everything you need.
Hi-vis clothing will ensure that other road users can see you if you’re waiting for help to arrive at the side of the road.
Even if you don’t have a tow bar on your car, this is still a key item to have in your boot. Having the rope in your boots might mean a passer-by can rescue you quickly, or you can help out someone in need.
Like dry clothing, boots (preferably waterproof) are essential to keep you warm and are definitely needed if you are to work outside in the snow.
If you’re stuck somewhere and keep your car running to keep you warm, the fuel in your tank might start to waver. An empty jerry can give you the opportunity to fill up without calling for help.
These used to be slightly too expensive to have as a "just in case" item in your boot, but nowadays, they have become a lot more reasonable. They'll be able to get you going should you be stuck on your own, and can even charge your phone up if it is about to die too!
The best course of action for driving in adverse conditions? Don’t.
But we know that sometimes this cannot be helped.
Just remember that the longer you plan on driving, the more you put yourself at risk. If you’re planning a long trip make sure you check the weather, the roads, and ensure someone knows that you’re travelling.
And since we all have a smart phone today, all of that is only in your pocket, so there’s no reason not to!
- On: 22 November 2018
- By: Unison Drive
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