Kwik Fit | Thursday 4th January 2018 8:05am
When it comes to winter driving, itís vital that youíre well prepared. Itís fair to say the recent snowfall in many parts of the country in mid-December caught a lot of drivers out. At this time of year, you never know what the weather will do next and the conditions on the roads can make even the shortest of journeys more tricky than usual. So, to ensure that youíre ready for anything this winter season, here are a few essentials that you might want to keep in your car.
De-icer and an ice scraper
Thereís no denying that de-icer and an ice scraper are two winter driving essentials. In the UK, itís a legal requirement to ensure your front and rear windscreens are clear before driving. While some cars have heated windows, many do not. If your vehicle doesnít have this feature, itís important that you spend some time clearing any ice or snow from your windows before you set off on a journey.
Whether you use a spray or aerosol can, de-icer can help speed up this process, while an ice-scraper allows you to manually remove any stubborn ice or snow from your vehicle. So that you can clear your car quickly, it pays to have these must-haves in your car at all times during the winter months.
The battery in your car could fail at any time, but itís more likely to happen in cold weather. So, to make sure that youíre not caught out this winter, you could keep a set of jump leads in your car. These cables provide you with a quick and easy way to recharge your car battery if itís flat. In order for them to work properly, you will need to have access to a car with a fully charged, working battery with the same voltage as yours.
An in-car mobile phone charger
Running out of phone battery is never good - especially if you get lost or break down. In situations like these, itís more than likely that youíll need your mobile to call for assistance or find your bearings. So, to make sure you donít run out of juice in your hour of need, you might want to keep an in-car mobile phone charger in your vehicle at all times.
Reflective warning signs
In many European countries, reflective warning signs are a legal requirement. Usually, these accessories come in the form of a small, brightly coloured triangle that is used to alert other motorists that your vehicle has broken down, helping to avoid potential collisions. Ideally, you should keep two in your car, so in the event that you break down, you can position one at the front of your vehicle and one at the back. These signs should be positioned at least 45 metres away from the car, and itís important to note that you shouldnít use them on motorways as itís not safe to do so.
On a dark winterís evening, the thought of pulling over at the side of the road can be frightening. So that you can see what youíre doing, make sure you have a torch to hand. Donít forget to keep extra batteries in your car too. Alternatively, you could go for a wind-up version instead.
Warm clothing and blankets
If you breakdown on your travels, itís likely youíll have to stand outside your vehicle while you wait for assistance. So that youíre as comfortable as possible, itís important that you have some warm clothing to wear, such as a thick coat, scarf, gloves and a hat. You could also keep some blankets in your car to ensure you and your passengers stay warm despite the dropping temperatures.
Itís important that you always drive in sensible, comfortable footwear. However, itís also a good idea to keep a separate pair of shoes with good grip, such as boots, in your car during the winter months. When itís wet, icy and snowy outside, the ground can be extremely slippery underfoot. So, to cut your chances of taking a tumble this chilly season, make sure you pack a pair of suitable shoes for when you get out of the car.
If you live in an area thatís particularly prone to snow, it might be a thought to keep a shovel in your car. In these conditions, it can be easy for your wheels to get stuck, so a shovel can help you get the snow away from your car. If you canít fit a regular shovel in your boot, you could go for a foldable design.
Food and drinks
Breaking down at the roadside isnít ideal - but it can be made even worse if you end up being stranded with an empty stomach. So, to keep your hunger pangs at bay, it pays to make sure your car is stocked with food and drinks. Go for snacks that are non-perishable, such as cereal bars and crisps, and donít forget to pack a few bottles of water too. If youíre planning a long journey, you could think ahead and take a flask of tea, coffee or soup with you to keep you well fed and watered.
A sat nav or road map
Winter weather conditions can make driving tricky, so itís important that your attention is on the road in front of you at all times. However, if youíre embarking on a long drive somewhere new or unfamiliar this chilly season, thereís no doubt youíll want to make sure that youíre going the right way, meaning it can be easy to become distracted by road signs. So, to help you get to your destination, you could use a sat nav. Alternatively, if you have a passenger in the car, you could use a road map instead.
A pair of sunglasses
Even in the winter, the sun can affect your visibility when youíre behind the wheel. When itís lying low, the sunís glare can make it difficult to see the road in front of you. To avoid being dazzled by its beams, make sure you keep a pair of sunglasses in the car.
When youíre out and about on the roads this winter, itís important to be prepared. By keeping these items in your car, youíll be ready for whatever the weather throws at you, helping you stay safe while youíre behind the wheel.
Free winter check at Kwik Fit
Now you've got your gear sorted, it's time to make sure you car is ship-shape too. If your engine is struggling to start in the morning, your wipers are smearing the windscreen or you have any other concerns about your vehicle, book a free winter safety check with Kwik Fit and we'll carry out a full inspection that will help keep your car moving this winter.
Wednesday 4th April 2018
Big changes to the MOT test from 20th May 2018 will see a new fault grading system introduced plus tougher regulations from diesel drivers. Find out more about the new Minor, Major and Dangerous MOT categories.
Tuesday 13th March 2018
If youíre looking to get away in your car this year, we take a look at some of the most impressive and awe-inspiring roads you can take across the continent in our latest e-book, from mountain passes to tree-lined forests.