There’s no journey greater than the drive home for Christmas, whether you are a student returning home for the festive season or a family member making their way back after a long shift at work. However, no matter whether your journey home is five minutes or five hours long, the winter weather can throw up a few challenges that can stop even the most experienced motorist in their tracks.
As the saying goes ‘if you fail to plan, you plan to fail’ so be prepared for the worst with this list of winter driving essentials…
1. Winter warmers
Having a blanket, gloves and thick winter jacket to hand could literally be lifesaving if you’re one of the 28,000 people that break down on the run up to Christmas. Many recovery services are pushed to the limit during the winter months, meaning callout times may not be as quick as you’d like them to be.
Many drivers face a wait of several hours due to increased traffic so having these winter warmers available will ensure you can keep warm and safe while help is on its way. Having high energy snacks, bottled water and personal medication to hand will also help you stay comfortable if you are stuck in your vehicle for a long period of time.
2. A mobile phone and spare charger
Having the means to call for help is a must, particularly in harsh weather conditions where it may not be possible for you to walk to the nearest petrol station, supermarket or property for help. Always be prepared with a fully charged mobile phone and an in-car charger, so you can call for a recovery service as and when you need to.
3. Carpet and cat litter
These may sound like two very strange items to keep in your vehicle during the winter months, however, they do have their purposes. Bits of old carpet and cardboard can get you back on the road once again if you hit a patch of ice or snow and lose traction. These can be placed under the wheels to help you regain control of your vehicle. Cat litter can also help clear any snow and ice, alternatively you can use salt or sand.
4. Snow chains and tow ropes
Whilst the use of snow chains is compulsory across many European countries, UK drivers haven’t quite caught on yet. Snow chains offer ultimate peace of mind for those driving in remote and rural areas, areas that are easily affected by deep snow and problematic icy conditions. Tow ropes will also help you get out of sticky situations so you can make it home for Christmas dinner on time and in one piece.
5. Ice Scraper and De-Icer
On a cold or icy morning, you’ve probably already used de-icer spray and an ice scraper to clear your windscreen. Be sure to take it with you for long journeys – sudden snow blizzards can take you by surprise if you are travelling around the UK, and you may need to make an unscheduled stop to clear your windscreen of snow or ice. To keep issues like this to a minimum, try using a long-term windscreen treatment such as Duxback.
Final Thoughts for the Winter Drive
If you’ve packed these winter driving essentials you’ll be ready for the road. Don’t forget, giving your car a service if you are planning a long trip is a great idea if you want to avoid any unforeseen vehicle trouble. If you are based in the Waterlooville area, get in touch with us to book a service today.