It’s worth packing the following essential items in your car’s boot to ensure you’re ready in case of breaking down in cold and wintry weather.
Here, Fleet UK experts give their list of 10 items which should make up a car’s winter kit:
1. Ice scraper and de-icer
Both are basic items but winter must-haves nonetheless. In 2020, Halford Autocentres polled over 2,000 UK motorists and found that 35% admitted to driving off with their windscreen either misted up or still covered in ice.
Not only could you be risking your safety by driving with an iced up windscreen, it could land you with a £60 fine and three penalty points! Legally, you must keep your front and rear windscreen clear of snow and ice before driving.
2. Don’t rely on your smartphone
If you’re stuck by the side of a country road in winter, ensure you have a torch with spare batteries as a phone light won’t give you much visibility.
These days we rely heavily on our phones and in-built technology for maps but if you have no battery in your car you may find you are limited with your phone battery too. Therefore, it’s worth having an ‘old-school’ paper road atlas in case you’re lost or your route changes due to a diversion.
3. In-car charger
It’s worth having an in-car phone charger so you can top up your battery even when you’re out and about. But what if you break down where there’s no phone signal? If you’re on the motorway you’ll need to locate the nearest emergency phone. On quieter roads, assess the situation – it may be a case of walking to the nearest house or sitting tight and waiting for a passing motorist to help.
4. Warm clothes and blankets
In case of a breakdown it’s important to have some warm clothes such as a big coat, spare jumper, hat and gloves. Having a blanket to hand will also help to you or your loved ones warm until help arrives.
5. High-visibility clothing
If your passengers and yourself need to be outside of the vehicle in the dark, it’s crucial that you all can be seen by other motorists. It could potentially be a life saver.
6. Empty fuel can
Ideally you would plan your journey to include fuel stops but sometimes things don’t always go according to plan. Have you ever been caught out by having an almost empty fuel tank and thinking “it will be ok as there’s a petrol station up the road”, only to find that you can’t fill up as the petrol station is closed or being refueled by a tanker. If you ever find yourself without fuel , it’s essential to have an empty fuel can available.
7. Food and drink
When setting off on a journey, especially one in winter, you should take some food and drink. Hot drinks in a flask are a good idea.
8. Warning triangles
A warning triangle is used to warn other motorists that your vehicle has broken down. It’s ideal to carry two so you can position one in front of the car and the other at the rear. The signs should be placed at least 45 metres away from the vehicle.
9. First aid kit
Hopefully this is never needed, but just in case of any accidents it’s worth having one in the car.
The winter sun can seriously affect driver’s visibility, creating a glare which makes it difficult to see the road. Always ensure you have a pair of sunglasses to hand.
In addition, it’s worth making yourself aware of the following guidelines set out by the Highway Code for winter motoring:
• You MUST be able to see, so clear all snow and ice from all of your windows
• You MUST ensure that lights are clean and number plates are clearly visible and legible
• Make sure the mirrors are clear and the windows are demisted thoroughly
•Remove all snow that might fall off into the path of other road users
•Check your planned route is clear of delays and that no further snowfalls or severe weather are predicted.
Download your Top 10 Essential Winter Items For Your Car checklist here.
Do you need a winter car check? Check our blog on why should get your vehicle prepared for winter here.
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