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What to carry in your car during winter

These handy items could save your life in the event of a winter vehicle breakdown.

Stay safe on the road this winter, and ensure you have all the essentials packed in your car.

Stay safe on the road this winter, and ensure you have all the essentials packed in your car.

During the winter months, driving can be much more challenging. From decreased visibility to icy conditions, there are lots more hazards to contend with on the road. This means that the risk of collision or breakdown is much higher, so it’s important to be prepared and make sure your car contains everything you might possibly need in the event of an emergency.

Automotive fluids can freeze during winter, and wiper blades can become damaged if used on a frosty windscreen, so check your screen wash, de-icer, antifreeze and wiper blades before the bad weather sets in, and top-up/replace anything as needed. You can purchase any of these items from your local Arnold Clark Parts department.

Before you set off on any journey, long or short, ensure your car contains all the things you might need should you get delayed, stuck, lost or involved in an accident.

  • A spade for shovelling snow out of the way of trapped wheels.
  • Blankets and warm clothes, in case you have to stand on the roadside or turn your engine off.
  • Food and water to keep your energy levels up in case of delay. (Long-life snacks with high calorie content are recommended.)
  • A high-visibility jacket so you can be seen if you have to stand at the side of the motorway or a country road.
  • Wellington boots for wading through snow or rain should you get stuck. Try to keep your normal shoes dry so they don't slip on the pedals.
  • De-icer and scraper – just because you’ve got rid of ice in the morning doesn’t mean it won’t creep back towards the end of the day.
  • A first aid kit and any regular medication, in case you’re delayed or an accident occurs.
  • Emergency breakdown details and a fully-charged phone so you can call for help if needed.
  • Salt, sand or even cheap cat litter to put down on a very snowy or icy patch.
  • Jump leads in case of breakdown.
  • Chemical hand warmers or gloves to keep yourself warm.
  • A torch and batteries.
  • Spare tyre or tyre repair kit.

It’s also advisable to keep some sunglasses in your glovebox all year round, as glare from the winter sun can be problematic. In such bright conditions, be aware that those in cars behind you may not be able to see you, so pay attention to your rear-view mirror.

Keep your tank relatively full – the additional weight can help with traction, and you never know when you might need to take a long detour. A car with lower levels of fuel is more susceptible to condensation, which forms in the tank and then freezes in your fuel lines, preventing your car from starting.

Accist is a complimentary accident management service available to all Arnold Clark customers. As a member, you will enjoy peace of mind that, should you be involved in an accident, our 24-hour hotline staff will be there to help. Accist can manage the whole process for you, from dealing with insurance companies to courtesy cars, taking the hassle and worry out of the situation. For further information, please don't hesitate to contact our Accist team on 0141 352 5370.

About the Author

Kirsty Cooke