Think like a Boy Scout this winter and Be Prepared for bad weather with an essential cold car kit that could be a lifesaver.
Last winter, thousands of motorists found themselves stuck in their cars for up to 15 hours as snow, ice and gridlocked roads left them stranded.
In addition to your reflective warning triangle, jump-leads and first-aid kit there are other essentials you need to in order to be ready for whatever winter has to throw at you.
Specialist insurance broker Adrian Flux has compiled a list of 10 things you won’t want to be without if you find yourself stuck in a snow-bound jam.
- If the temperature has plummeted, don’t leave home without checking your mobile phone is fully charged. Don’t, however, rely on your phone as your only line of defence – Murphy’s Law dictates that if you’re going to break down, you’re more likely to break down in a signal black-spot. If your phone has a camera, you can also use it to record any unfortunate accidents that might take place.
- A torch is essential. Swerve any potential battery nightmares by carrying a wind-up torch which requires only a few hand cranks to power-up. Many torches designed for use by motorists are also clever multi-taskers that include alert sirens, glass-breaking hammer tops and seatbelt cutters.
- There’s nothing worse than standing in the cold scraping ice off your windscreen with a credit card or a CD case. Take an ice-scraper.
- A blanket or a sleeping bag will make any enforced stay in your car during the winter months far more bearable. If you’re really organised, pick up a heat-reflective blanket – they take up very little space and help you to retain up to 90 per cent of your radiant body heat.
- If you have to drive in bad weather, make sure you take emergency supplies of high-calorie snacks, such as cereal bars, and bottles of water. Don’t be tempted to leave a large bottle of water in the boot for emergencies – it will undoubtedly freeze solid. Take fresh water for each journey.
- Take a folding shovel to help you dig your car out of trouble. If you’ve got any left-over pieces of carpet, store them in the car boot and use them for a little extra traction under your tyres. A bag of road grit or even cat litter can also be a lifesaver.
- In addition to your blanket, try and take a change of clothes, Wellington boots, thick socks, a hat and gloves. Make sure you have enough supplies for you and each of your passengers.
- Take a tow-rope. Again, an all-year-round essential, but when it’s below freezing, the ability to get moving quickly isn’t one you’ll want to miss.
- In addition to a well-stocked first aid kit, if you’re setting off in bad weather, make sure you have enough of any medication you need to last you for at least 10 hours.
- A notebook and a pen are handy – you can write a note to leave on the dashboard if you have to abandon your car or make a start on your novel if you find yourself stranded for 15 hours.