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Winter Survival Kit: Breakdown Essentials

Date: Fri 30th November 2018   |   Author: L Blake

Winter Survival Kit: Breakdown Essentials

The weather can have an impact on your car’s health, especially in winter when the harsh weather increases the chances of a breakdown. It is important to be prepared in order to avoid being left stranded in the cold. We’ve compiled a handy checklist of breakdown essentials to help you keep you safe on the roads this winter.

An empty fuel can

Sometimes breakdowns aren’t due to anything serious like a mechanical fault or engine failure, but are simply a result of your vehicle running out of fuel. Whilst this can be annoying, there is a quick fix, providing that there is a petrol station relatively close by.  Once there, you will need an empty fuel can to fill up. So it is a good idea to keep an empty fuel can in your car at all times.

A first aid kit

Including a first aid kit in your breakdown essentials kit is good practice any time of year. You never know when you may need to treat a minor injury whilst on the road! According to the British Standards Institution (BSI), a small first aid should include the following:

  • Nitrile powder-free gloves.
  • Revive-aid resuscitation face shield.
  • Scissors.
  • Sterile cleansing wipes.
  • Washproof plasters in assorted sizes.
  • Wound dressings.

Food and drink

It goes without saying that breakdowns are unpredictable and in some cases, can be for long periods of time. The idea of being stranded is bad enough but imagine being stranded feeling hungry or dehydrated! A good tip is to pack snacks and plenty of water (enough for yourself and each passenger) just in case. During cold weather, it might be a good idea to add a flask of hot drink or soup to your winter survival kit.

An ice scraper and de-icer

It is a legal requirement to keep your front and rear windscreen clear of snow and ice before driving to ensure clear visibility of the road. Even if your car has a heated windscreen, it is a good idea to carry an ice scraper in your vehicle, just in case.

Though an ice scraper will work just fine on its own, a de-icer spray will really help to speed up the process. These are inexpensive to buy but will work wonders when driving in wintry conditions, especially when your windscreen has frosted over.

Winter survival kit in car boot

Jump cables (or a portable battery charger)

A flat or dead battery is one of the main causes of a vehicle breakdown, so a set of jump cables or a portable battery charger should be part of your breakdown essentials kit year-round. Your battery can really take a hit in winter due to increased use of your lights, heater and blower, causing your battery to drain much quicker than usual. By carrying a set of jump cables or a portable battery charger in your car, you will be able to get the battery going away and be back on the road in no time.

A phone charger (and portable charger)

The only thing worse than breaking down is breaking down without access to a phone. By adding an in-car phone charger or portable battery charger to your breakdown essentials kit, you will hopefully be able to call whoever you need to during your time of need.

A road atlas

In this day and age, it would seem that atlases are a thing of the past, given that Sat Navs and Google Maps are so accessible. Getting lost can be a stressful ordeal as it is, add in a flat battery or loss of phone signal and you could be left stranded. Having a road atlas to hand will help you get back on the road and navigate your way to safety.

A pair of sunglasses

No, we haven’t gotten our seasons mixed up! The sun is positioned much lower in winter and this can cause glare which can affect driver visibility. By keeping a pair of sunglasses in your car, you can ensure that you are prepared and have clear visibility of the road ahead.

A torch and spare batteries

Carrying a torch in your car is a good tip year-round, not just in winter. Imagine being stuck at the side of the road with a flat battery on a dark evening. Not only can this be frightening and unsafe, but it can also be unhelpful if you cannot see what is wrong with your vehicle to attempt to fix it. For many reasons, a torch with spare batteries should be among your breakdown kit essentials.

Warm clothing (and blankets!)

Breakdowns are unpredictable and assistance isn’t always available right away. You could be waiting a while and especially in winter, you do not want to be left waiting in the cold! It’s sensible to have something warm to hand to wrap up be it warm clothing, blankets or even a sleeping bag.

We hope you found our winter survival kit tips helpful. For more driving tips and other interesting articles, visit the AutoProtect engage page.