It’s a nightmare scenario: you’ve set out on a long journey, snow is falling, daylight is fading and your car breaks down. Are you prepared? Planning ahead and putting together a breakdown kit for your car can prevent unforeseen seasonal circumstances from becoming disasters. Read our top 10 tips for being prepared for a breakdown in winter.
Are you ready for this?
- Breakdown cover: make sure that you have adequate breakdown cover; keep details of your breakdown provider in your car so that a phone number is easily accessible in case of an emergency.
- A mobile phone: a fully charged mobile phone means you can contact your breakdown provider immediately, as well as being able to phone your destination to inform of the delay.
- Warmth: keep warm clothing in your car, including; a jumper, a heavy coat, a scarf and gloves. A blanket and click-activated gel hand warmers will also help to keep you warm while waiting for your breakdown cover provider to arrive. At night winter temperature is likely to drop significantly; staying warm if you break down is paramount to your health and safety, especially if you need to leave your vehicle to find help.
- A wind-up torch: in low winter light a torch will not only help you to investigate your breakdown, it will also increase your visibility to other drivers. Keeping a wind up-torch in your car means you will never have to worry about batteries running out!
- High-vis: keep a hazard triangle and a high-vis vest in your boot which you can use to increase your visibility to motorists at night. A warning triangle is especially useful for alerting other drivers to your broken down vehicle, if possible also use your hazard warning lights. Remember to include high-vis clothing for all passengers, including children. High-vis clothing is especially important if you need to leave your car to seek help.
- Food and water: Make sure you always have some kind of food and water with you on a winter journey. The unpredictable nature of motoring emergencies means you may break down in an isolated location; being prepared with something to eat and drink, such as cereal bars or chocolate and bottled water, will maintain your energy levels.
- First aid: a first aid box in the boot of a car is always a good precaution. Previous snowy winters have resulted in treble the average number of accidents on UK roads; access to first aid materials can save lives.
- A shovel: A shovel is essential if your vehicle becomes trapped in a snowdrift! Be careful to ensure snow is clear of your exhaust and is not obscuring your vehicle’s headlights, brake lights and licence plate before restarting your journey.
- A clear windscreen: keep de-icer and a window scraper in your car throughout the winter. A spray bottle of de-icer and a scraper will enable you to clear your windscreen and resume your journey safely after stopping in wintery conditions.
- A map: keep a map of your journey and the surrounding area in your car so you can identify your location and find help more easily. Most satnav systems display the location of petrol stations and emergency services and will calculate routes ‘by foot’ if needed. Keeping a physical map in your car means you can still navigate if your satnav runs out of battery.
For many first time drivers winter motoring conditions can be challenging and a new experience. Introductory driving lessons are available nationally from RED Driving School from £9 per hour.
Posted by admin @ 8 December 2011