Looking After Your Vehicle

What to Have in Your Winter Emergency Car Kit

Amelia Scholey, Brand and Content Specialist
Wednesday, 17 November 2021

When the nights start to get darker, and the temperature starts to drop, you know winter is on its way. Vehicle’s will often need that little bit of extra care and attention when winter strikes, and because of this it’s important to have a winter survival kit for your car. You can also make sure your vehicle is working as it should by regularly servicing your car.

We’ve listed lots of winter car accessories that will help to keep you safe on the roads.

Winter emergency car kit list

1. Ice scraper and de-icer

These are a must. We’ve all been there in the winter, when we’re running late for something and your car is frozen over. Well both of these will help you to clear your windscreen not only quickly, but more effectively. It’s also important that your visibility when driving is always clear, if it’s not then this could cause a safety issue, or even an accident.

Not only is having an iced over windscreen dangerous, but if you get caught driving with snow or ice blocking your visibility then you could get 3 points on your licence and a £100 fine.

2. Torch and spare batteries

Breaking down in the dark can be quite a scary thought for some of us. Which is why we’d always recommend keeping a torch and some spare batteries in your car, just in case. Let’s be honest, a torch is probably a handy thing to have in your car all year round, not just for winter.

You could also look into a wind-up torch in case the batteries stop working.

Make sure you know what to do if you do breakdown, this is especially important in the cold and dark of winter. 

3. In-car phone charger or power pack

Most of us already have one of these in our car as we often feel lost when our phones die. However, this is an absolute must for the winter months. Not only is it a lifeline if you get stuck in the ice, snow or dark, but you can also use your phone as a torch should your actual torch not work. We would always advise keeping a spare torch in case though, as using the torch on your phone can use up your battery very quickly.

4. Plan your route

When driving in the winter you should always plan your route if you know you’ll be driving down a long, dark and unfamiliar road! You can plan the route with a good old-fashioned map or make sure you have an updated satnav, or phone with enough battery, to guide you all the way. However, please make sure you don’t let your satnav distract you, it is there to guide you and not make driving more dangerous.  

Planning your route will prepare you for any road works, or diversions, but it’ll also make you think before driving down any dark icy country roads.

5. Sunglasses

When driving in the winter you should always carry sunglasses. You may have noticed in the winter that the sun can often be brighter than in the summer, this is because the sun in the winter is low and can shine straight into your eyes or onto the road, causing a glare. Keep sunglasses in your car all year round to make sure your vision is never affected, better still make sure they are kept in easy reach so that they can be grabbed quickly when they are needed.

6. First aid kit

No matter the weather, it’s always a good idea to keep a first aid kit in your car. Add a first aid kit to your winter survival kit for your car, and make sure it has all the things you’d need to treat minor cuts, wounds and scrapes such as sterile wipes, plasters, dressings and scissors.

7. A fuel can

A fuel can is a must to add to your winter car accessories. A lot of vehicles often break down for running out of fuel, but if you have an empty fuel can then you’ll be able to sort the issue out for yourself.

If you can’t find a petrol station nearby, or you think it might be too dangerous to find one, then call your breakdown cover providers and they’ll be able to help.

8. Warm clothing or a blanket

If you are unfortunate enough to break down in the winter, then the last thing you want is to be left outside in the cold.
If the reason you have broken down is a fault of the engine then you aren’t going to be able to have the heating on in the car whilst you wait. Take a blanket or some warm clothing with you in your winter emergency kit to make sure you don’t get too cold whilst you wait for help. 

9. Battery jump leads

Sometimes your car just won’t start. This can happen to cars with an older battery, but also to cars with a lot of gadgets running off them.

If a car has lots of gadgets on, i.e. heated seats, infotainment system and moving the electric seats then the battery is going to run out quickly on shorter journeys where it’s not had a chance to charge. 

Keep jump leads in your boot just in case you get caught short all year round, but especially in the dark and cold winter months. 

10. Hi-vis jacket / clothing

A must for the winter car kit. If you break down or need to change a tyre in the dark and cold, then a hi-vis jacket is a must. It will keep you seen and most importantly safe. 

11. Water and snacks

These last items are very much for in case of emergency, but are good to have all year round anyway. 

Make sure you always have a few bottles of water and some long-lasting snacks in the boot of your car. If you get stuck out in the dark and cold at least you can remain hydrated and not too hungry. 

Looking after your car is important all year round, but breaking down or getting stuck seems much more daunting in winter months. To keep your car running as it should make sure to follow our car maintenance checklist.

Severe weather warnings

We’ve covered all the items you should have in your car throughout winter for driving in normal conditions, but what we haven’t mentioned is what to take if there are severe weather warnings. We understand that sometimes you cannot get out of driving, even when there are weather warnings, so here are a handful of things we would advise to take on that trip:

  • Warm clothes and waterproofs
  • Sturdy footwear
  • A flask of hot drink
  • Snacks
  • Hi-vis jacket
  • Warning triangles
  • Jump leads
  • Shovel
If you do ever need to take a trip against guidance, then drive as slowly as possible and take your time. Your safety is the most important thing.
Amelia Scholey, Brand and Content Specialist
Bringing you information on how to look after your vehicle, save money and enjoy your life on the road.