With winter in full swing, it’s important to take stock of how prepared you are for changing driving conditions. From icy roads to long delays and mechanical issues caused by the cold, having an easy-to-put-together kit in the back of your car can make staying on the road safer, and protect you if a problem arises.
What should be in my winter car kit?
The kit you need can largely be made with things you already have, simply put them in a box and put that in the boot of your car.
#01 | Warm clothes and sturdy boots
Think cosy. If you’re stuck, a thick coat or jacket is vital while you’re potentially outside your vehicle. A jumper, fleece or jogging bottoms are a great idea to add extra layers too. Don’t forget a pair of sturdy boots, like the sort you’d wear for hiking or work. The last thing you need when you’re out of the car is to slip because you’ve not got the right footwear.
Keep a plastic bag or two in the kit to put any wet clothes in, in case you get stuck in the rain or snowy conditions.
#02 | Phone charger and power packs
Your phone is an important tool at the best of times, but if you’re stuck and need to get help the last thing you want to deal with is a flat battery or low charge. A couple of USB power banks charged up and in your kit, can ensure you’re not going to run out of power any time soon.
When you’re not travelling, make sure these are still fully charged, just don’t forget to put them back in the kit.
#03 | Ice scraper and de-icer
These are self-explanatory, you’re more likely going to need these when you go to your car in the morning to help you get underway
Look for an ice scraper with a brush to help get snow off your car. Keep an eye out in supermarkets and petrol stations around winter for bundles that have everything to de-ice your car in, these can often work out cheaper.
#04 | Hi-vis jacket
It’s important that you remain visible, a simple hi-vis jacket can provide an extra layer and help to keep you safer while you’re outside your car.
DIY stores are a great place to look for hi-vis, it’s also worth looking for reflective warning triangles that you can put near your car to warn other motorists.
#05 | Jumper cables
When it’s cold a car battery can suffer, a set of jumper cables can make the difference between getting underway quickly or needing to wait for assistance to arrive.
This is something that should always be in the boot of your car, just in case.
#06 | Food and drink
You don’t know how long you could be waiting for help to arrive, so it’s important to make sure you can stay fed and hydrated. Bottles of water and a few snacks in the car can help keep energy levels up while you wait.
Look for long-lasting snacks like cereal bars, energy bars etc. These keep for ages.
#07 | Shovel
in extreme cases you might need more than an ice scraper to clear your car. Especially if you’re driving down quieter roads or country lanes which might not be cleared of snow.
If boot space is an issue, you can get collapsible shovels specifically for winter car kits from motoring shops or DIY stores.
#08 | An empty fuel can
If you run out of fuel it can be a nightmare, if you’re near a petrol station and can get to and from it safely, a fuel can will help you get back on the road quickly.
Make sure you get a fuel can you can carry safely. If you’ve broken down and have to negotiate ice and snow falling while carrying something heavy can be disastrous.
#09 | Blankets
More layers to help you stay cosy and avoid the cold.
Picnic blankets are great for this as they are often thicker, and many come with a strap to roll them up for easier storage in your car.
#10 | First aid kit
A simple first aid kit can help with any bumps, scrapes, or emergencies while you’re on the road and should be something you keep in your car all year round.
Some items in a first aid kit can expire, so keep an eye on your kit and check it every few months to make sure anything that needs replacing is taken care of.
#11 | Torch
If it’s dark you’re going to need to be able to see or even signal for help.
An LED torch will have bulbs that last longer and drain less battery life. It’s also worth keeping spare batteries with the torch just in case.
Do I need anything different if I drive an EV?
If anything, your EV kit will be slightly smaller as you won’t need a fuel can, but if you get stuck, you’ll still need to make sure you’re prepared.
It’s not advised to jump-start an EV or use one to jump other vehicles either as this can damage the onboard electrics, so it might be worth forgoing the jumper cables to remove that temptation and potentially doing more harm than good.
Putting your kit together shouldn’t be too difficult. Outside of winter, a large portion of it can be kept in the garage. Just remember that when the weather starts to turn, it’s the perfect time to take stock, check everything still works and get ready for another winter on the roads.
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