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The essential winter car kit

The essential winter car kit

We’re getting into the cold weather now and it’s set to get worse before it gets better. So, to stay safe on the roads, you should prepare your car and yourself for snow and ice. That means getting a kit ready for your car, which we’re going to tell you all about right here.

So, what do you need to put in your car to make sure that you’re safe and warm if the worst should happen – you get stranded in the snow?

Gather the following items and you should be able to survive until you can free yourself or help comes.

Wind-up torch or normal torch and fully charged batteries – this is vital if you breakdown in the dark. And it may seem a little strange to say charged batteries, but they do lose power over time even if you’re not using them, so always best to check.

High visibility vest and warning triangle – you should have these in your car at all time anyway. But if you don’t have them, now’s the time to make sure you get them. If you breakdown or get stuck on a dark wintery road and it’s snowing, these will be essential for others to see you and avoid running into you.

Mobile and battery pack – if you’re asking why we’re not suggesting a USB charger for your phone. Well, if your car battery dies…

Breakdown company details – if you have breakdown cover, make sure you have all the details with you for obvious reasons.

Spare screenwash – you don’t want to get caught with nothing to wash to your windscreen with, it could make driving tricky once you get going again. • First aid kit – a basic first aid kit is a must for car journeys at any time of the year, but even more essential in the winter.

Ice scraper and de-icer – if you get stuck for any length of time, it’s likely your windscreen will freeze over and will need de-icing before you set off again, so you’ll need these.

Blanket – keeping yourself warm if you get trapped in your car overnight, or even for just a couple of hours if it’s below freezing, is essential. A good warm wool blanket should help.

Shovel – simply for if you need to dig yourself out.

A stock of food and a bottle of water or flask – if you get stuck for any length of time you’ll be glad of these. Nut and seed bars are packed full of energy and can be kept for a long time. Alternatively, a block of Kendal Mint Cake is a good long-term food for your kit.

Toilet roll and plastic bags – not something you might think about, but if you’ve been eating and drinking the food you packed, you’ll be thankful for these an hour or two later.

Jumper cables – in case your battery fails you’ll need something to get you going again when a good Samaritan comes along.

Bag of cat litter – yes, you read that right, cat litter is a great alternative to salt or grit for giving your tyres grip. It’s cheap and weighs much less than grit too.

And that’s it. If you have this kit, you’ll be okay for at least a couple of hours. And we can’t say it enough – only drive in snow and ice if you absolutely have to. Next time we’re covering how to prep your car for driving in the winter. Until then, drive safely and have fun.