With the clocks soon going back, the weather likely to change and the nights already feeling longer, it’s safe to say that the winter season is well and truly upon us. While we’re all keeping our fingers crossed that we’ll avoid any major weather events, now is the time to plan for the worst and ensure that you and your car are winter-ready. As the old saying goes ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail,’ but what exactly should you stock in your car’s winter driving kit? We may not be able to predict the weather, but our checklist below should take the guesswork out of staying safe on the roads this winter.
Emergency Breakdown Supplies
1. Ice, Ice, Maybe
Even if we don’t see significant snowfall this year, we’re almost guaranteed to see temperatures dip somewhat leading to frost and ice on the roads. While ice on the windscreen is most likely to be a factor early in the morning after your car has been idle overnight, depending on temperatures outside it is possible that between the time you arrived at work and the time you leave that the windows could have iced over again. For this reason we recommend keeping an ice scraper and some de-icer in your car so that you’ll always have it to hand when you need it.
However, for those who like to be that bit more prepared, it may be worth investing in pre-icer (a spray you can apply to your windscreen and windows before leaving your car idle) which will significantly reduce the build-up of ice on all surfaces and get you on the road faster early in the morning.
Save Yourself a Winter Breakdown
Breakdowns are annoying at the best of times, but when combined with cooler temperatures they can be an even greater concern for motorists. To help minimise any inconvenience caused by a breakdown, download the AA app which is the quickest way to report a breakdown. It can also be a good idea to keep a portable power bar in your car that you can use if your own phone has run out of battery. It can also be a good idea to keep hi-vis clothing, a torch and an emergency warning triangle in an accessible location in your car so that you can make yourself more visible to passing traffic if you have to step out from your car.
Maybe its Cold Outside
Our AA patrols will generally be on site to attend to a breakdown within an hour, but when temperatures drop even an hour can feel like an uncomfortably long time. For this reason, it’s a good idea to keep some warm clothes and potentially even a blanket in your car so that you can stay warm while waiting for our roadside rescue team.
Food For Thought
No-one likes being cold and/or hungry, so as silly as it may seem it can be a good idea to have some food in your winter emergency kit (we recommend something with a long-shelf life like a cereal bar… no-one wants to be confronted by a mouldy sandwich in a crisis), along with a bottle or two of water to help keep you or your car hydrated depending on the circumstances. This is particularly important if you have a pre-existing medical condition which could be worsened by any significant length of time without food. We would also encourage motorists to keep a small amount of any medication that you need to take at regular intervals in the car, so that you are not left without if you find yourself stuck in your vehicle.
Fingers crossed you’ll never need to use your car’s winter safety kit, but it’s always a good idea to have one ready for the worst case scenario. While the above essentials are likely to be the most important items to include, if you still have room in your boot a small fire extinguisher, spare light bulbs, and even a first aid kid could also come in handy during the winter months. For the sake of 10 minutes and a small amount of cash, your winter kit could prove to be a life-saver.
Worried about who you can call if you breakdown this winter? AA Membership is available online from just €10 per month.