LCH Winter Driving Tips (Packing)
Last week on our previous blog post, we looked at how to ensure your car is prepared and ready for the winter months. However, even the most prepared vehicle can still breakdown or become stranded in harsh conditions. In this post, we will be looking at what to take with you when out on the road to ensure you are prepared for any situation.
In the days of Sat Navs and Smart Phones, physical maps may seem like a distant memory, however this is something not to be laughed at. Mobile phones can lose signal, batteries can die and electrics can fail, having a map as a backup to help if you are diverted by bad weather can extremely helpful.
In-car and portable charger
In the case of the above and your phone has ran out of battery when broken down, a portable battery charger will be your saving grace. Alternately, when making longer journeys or if you notice your phone battery is running low, having an in-car charger to hand means you can always charge your phone on any journey.
Despite everything we’ve said so far, the sun is still out there! Combine wet roads with a low sun and you’ll need the sun visor and pair of shades. Make sure you always have some handy in your vehicle.
Ice Scraper and De-Icer
The two things most commonly found in a vehicle in winter but always make sure you have enough de-icer for those frosty, snowy mornings.
It is a legal requirement to keep both your front and rear windscreen clear of ice and snow before you set off on your journey and some vehicles do not have heated windows to help speed up the process.
Ice scrapers require some muscle and effort (especially on those early starts) but is the most effective way of removing snow and ice from your vehicle. A de-icer is extremely effective for those slightly frosty morning.
Torch and Batteries
The hot topic for every Brit this week is how dark it is now the clocks have gone back. It happens every year, yet it always comes as a shock! Shorter days and longer nights means you will inevitably have to drive in the dark. If you were to breakdown in this situation and the car lights are not working, a torch with spare batteries (or wind up torch) will be a great help.
First Aid Kit
First Aid Kits normally comes as standard with all new vehicles these days but even still, it is worth checking that you have one and if you do, everything is in date. A small first aid kit should usually have the following:
- Plasters (in assorted sizes)
- Sterile cleansing wipes
- Nitrile gloves (powder free)
- Resuscitation face shield
Clothes, Boots and Blankets
If this spell of cold weather over the weekend has taught us anything, winter is freezing! With the heating on 28 degrees in your car you can soon forget the temperature outside, until you breakdown. Ensure you always have warm clothes, jackets and blankets in the vehicle for these unfortunate occasions as a breakdown could mean a long wait with no heat.
Another item of clothing that some may already have in their vehicle (as they are required by law in some European countries, for example, France) is a high-visibility jacket. They may not keep you warm but they keep you visible, something that is just as important. Again, something else to aid in visibility is your warning triangle. It should be in your car as standard but it’s always good to check before the winter season that you have one.
Boots with a good grip is also advisable. Leather shoes are sensible for both work and driving but they do not provide the best support or stability in icy weather!
It seems like the list of items required in your vehicle is getting larger and your boot space is becoming smaller, unfortunately the next item is not a small one but in bad weather is an essential one. A shovel. For those that don’t have the boot the size of a semi-detached 3 bedroom house, there are foldable versions of these on the market to fit snugly into your boot.
Terrible weather brings terrible traffic. You can be the most prepared urban survivor (shovel and all) and still find yourself in a 3 hour traffic jam with your fuel on the red light. For these situations, an empty fuel can will come in very handy when having to walk to the nearest petrol station.
Food and Drink
Last but not least, food and drink. We all have cheeky car snacks stowed away in our glove box but when you breakdown, a half-eaten bag of Tooty Frooties may not be enough (especially if you have a car full of hungry mouths to feed!)
On those cold, bad weather days, remember to take supplies and a flask of something hot (soup, tea, hot chocolate) as a high priority.
These are just some helpful tips to keep in mind when packing your vehicle for a journey in winter weather. Our next post will be all about how to drive and stay safe in those cold conditions.
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