Create Your Own Winter Car Kit
Protect you and your car from the elements
The Winter doesn’t just bring bad weather, but it increases your chances of a breakdown and leaving you exposed to harsher conditions. Even if you don’t breakdown you could get stuck due to road closures.
You might face long delays which can be particularly unpleasant if you find yourself stuck on a motorway in freezing conditions.
To help you stay safe and as well prepared as possible we have drawn up a winter car kit checklist of the essential items you need in the event of a winter breakdown. A well-stocked emergency kit can help you get back on the road or at least make time waiting for assistance safer and more comfortable.
What to include in your winter car kit
Ice scraper and de-icer
By law you must keep your rear and front windscreen clear of snow and ice when driving.
An ice scraper is effective (even though it takes a bit of effort), while a can or spray bottle of de-icer speeds up the process.
It’s important to keep an ice scraper and or de-icer in the car during the winter as you’ll likely have to clear your windscreens more than once on a journey – especially if you’ve been parked up for some time.
Torch and spare batteries
A torch is one of those tools that can help you out in all sorts of situations. Stuck by the side of a road at night with a flat battery? It’s a very real possibility, and without any light it can be a frightening and dangerous situation. Use the torch to flag down help, change or pump up a flat tyre, or for light inside the car while waiting for help.
If you have a battery operated torch don’t forget to include spare batteries. Alternatively pack a wind-up torch.
Warm clothes and blankets
Staying warm is essential when you’re stranded in the winter.
Keep extra warm clothes such as hats, gloves and jumpers so you can keep warm while fixing your car or waiting for help.
If you have room pack extra for any passengers to use in the event of an emergency. To minimise on storage you could invest in foil emergency blankets.
High-Visibility clothing will keep you safe at night in the event that you have to leave your vehicle.
In some European countries it’s actually the law to have a piece of high-vis clothing in your vehicle.
Boots with a good grip
Keep boots in the car during winter weather that have a strong grip in case you need to walk in slippery conditions.
Alternatively you could buy snow grips that just attach to your normal shoes.
The advantage of the boots is that they will keep your feet drier and warmer.
First aid kit
Having a first aid kit in the car is good practice at any time of the year.
There is a national standard for first aid provision within motor vehicles, devised by the British Standards Institution (BSI).
A small first aid kit should include sterile cleansing wipes, washproof plasters in assorted sizes, dressings, scissors, nitrile powder-free gloves and a Revive-Aid resuscitation face shield – or similar product.
Jump leads or portable jump starter
Don’t assume that other motorists will have jump leads to help you out. Carry your own.
Flat or dead batteries can happen to any car regardless of age and at any time, but in cold weather such problems are far more likely to occur.
Alternatively, a portable jump starter is very easy to use and works well, but it needs to be kept charged to work on the road.
Empty fuel can
Sometimes you’ll find yourself out of fuel. Either you forgot to fill up, or couldn’t get to a petrol station in time.
Assuming you can find your way to a petrol station, you’ll need a can to fill with fuel.
Food and drink
It’s a good ideal to keep basic food and drink provisions in the car for those unexpected delays.
Chocolate and protein bars are long lasting so good food choices. Bottled water will usually last for six months before it needs to be replaced.
You can always make up some hot drinks in a flask for long journeys too.
A shovel can help you to dig yourself out of a snowy problem.
Foldable shovels are compact and easy to store in the boot.
When your wheels spin on the snow or ice and you just can’t get the car moving, use a pair or traction mats in front of the wheels to give your tyres the grip they need. They stop the wheels spinning, giving traction to get you back on the road.
Reflective warning triangles
A reflective warning sign is a legal requirement in many European nations.
It usually comes in the form of a triangle and is used to warn other motorists that your vehicle has broken down to help to avoid collisions.
Ideally you need two; one to position in front of the car and the second at the rear. The signs should be at least 45 metres behind and in front of the car.
Never use them on motorways – it’s too dangerous!
A road atlas
Don’t assume that your SatNav will be working, or that you’ll be able to get a signal.
A paper based road atlas is a great backup just in case!
Sunglasses offer a simple but effective method to combat low winter sun that can seriously affect driver visibility.
So always ensure you have a pair of sunglasses to hand.
In-car phone charger
Carry an in-car charger and keep your mobile charged on your journey- just in case you need it in an emergency.
If you break down on the motorway and you don’t have a working mobile, walk to the nearest emergency phone.
Pack it All Up
All that’s left to do is put all of your kit into a container and put it in the boot. Hopefully you’ll never need to use it, but you’ll be please knowing it’s there should you need it.
Summary of Items to pack in your winter car kit
1 Ice Scraper
3 Warm clothes
4 Hi-vis jacket
6 First aid kit
7 jump leads
8 Fuel can
9 Food and drink
10 Portable shovel
11 Traction mats
12 Reflective warning triangles
13 Road atlas
15 Phone charger
Back to all help and advice articles