You might have driven by that person, standing by the side of their vehicle, hazard lights flashing and no hope of getting anywhere soon. Cold, bored and soon to be cloaked by the impending darkness, things don’t look good for this unfortunate road user.
As you drive by, you’re probably feeling a little bit smug because you’ve got a well stocked, winter emergency pack safely stored in the boot of your car – which your other half complains about regularly because they have to squeeze the shopping in around it.
Wait, you don’t have an emergency pack? Well you’d better take a look at this guide covering what a car winter emergency pack should contain, so you’re prepared should those dreaded red lights flash up on your dashboard or Jack Frost pays a visit overnight.
Emergency battery charger
Batteries can fail for a great number of reasons, but they do so most commonly in the winter months when colder temperatures make the battery work harder as we use heaters, windscreen wipers and lights.
The cold weather also reduces the battery’s ability to charge, and so recharges slower whilst driving. The AA apparently replaced 140,000 batteries alone in 2010, so this is why you should keep an emergency charger in your pack just in case. You can order one online from Pure Drive Batteries who are a leading battery supplier.
If you break down in the dark you want to be seen whilst waiting by the side of the road. Hazard lights draw attention to your car not you. A simple high visibility vest will work well and you should also keep a warning triangle in your car to place in a position where oncoming traffic will see it. Warning triangles are not a legal requirement in the UK, they are in France and Spain, but are still a good idea to keep in your car.
Keep a torch handy just in case you need to look around the vehicle or check documents; don’t use your phone as a light because that might be needed later. Opt for a wind up torch so you don’t need to worry about batteries.
Winter doesn’t usually mean warm, dry weather so make sure you have a couple of waterproof ponchos in your pack. You should never remain in your car if it is hastily parked on the side of the road after breaking down, but you also don’t want to get wet outside, so a poncho is the perfect solution.
These will come in handy in more treacherous conditions, no slipping over whilst walking around your car in the ice and snow, just snap some grips over your shoes.
Bottled water and emergency cereal bars
Just try to resist consuming these when you’re really hungry on the way to work in the morning because takeaway stores probably won’t deliver to roadside breakdowns!
First aid kit
Having plasters and painkillers in the car is never a bad idea at any time of the year.
De-icer and a scraper
For those frosty mornings or evenings, depending on how cold it is, you’ll need a quick blast of de-icer and some elbow grease to get going.
Whilst you can’t pack it in your car, breakdown cover is also something you should definitely take out, especially over winter. Take a look at this comparison of the RAC, AA and Green Flag and choose the best one for your needs (and budget).
Remember to check your pack regularly and keep it stocked if you need to use anything whilst out and about. It’s also a good idea to pack your kit considering each person that could possibly be in your car – if there’s only one poncho to share between three people then things could turn nasty whilst waiting in the rain on the side of the road.
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