The now infamous Beast From The East caused chaos in the county, cutting off villages and closing A roads, when it severely battered Lincolnshire and the East of England in February 2018. The blizzard conditions and drifting snow left many drivers stranded and unable to continue on their journeys. Of course, the best advice is not to travel in such severe conditions, but this isn't always possible, so the next best thing is to be as prepared as possible.
Whether they are covered in snow drifts or a light layer of ice, sleet or slush, winter roads are unpredictable. Being well equipped will help you make the best of the bad weather and here we look at the best things to have in your winter car kit, as well as a handy checklist to get your car winter-ready.
The Essential Winter Car Kit
Phone charger - try to keep your mobile phone fully charged before setting out on a long journey, but always keep a phone charger in the car. You will need your phone if you are involved in an accident or need to call for help.
Phone Navigation apps - With phones becoming ever more important in our daily lives, they can also potentially save your life. Should you become stuck in a remote location there are many apps out there to help identify where you are, so as to direct the emergency services or friends/relatives to you. Apps such as ‘What3Words' have been developed for just such a purpose, breaking down the entire world into 3 metre square blocks - each with a unique, easy to remember reference. So if you were stranded at fabric.tweed.rivals you could be traced to that exact 3m location! The UK emergency services are trained to understand these references and it's been proven to help trigger faster response times.
De-icer and Ice scraper/snow brush - always clear snow from your car before starting out and clear the entire car. This will avoid the snow from your roof flying off and hitting another vehicle. Even the smallest snow flurry can quickly cover a car in the time it takes to make a pit stop on a journey so keep on top of the scraping after a refreshment break.
Shovel - indispensable for clearing snow if you get stuck, or for clearing the road ahead. If boot space is at a premium, folding shovels are an option.
Torch (with spare batteries) - with winter evenings drawing in as early as 4pm, a torch will help you to identify anything that needs attention, and will help other road users to see you.
Sand/salt/cat litter - if your car is stuck in the road, several handfuls of sand, salt or even cat litter, sprinkled in front of the tyres will help to create some traction. Storing it in an old plastic milk container is perfect to keep it contained and dry. The container also makes it easier to sprinkle onto the required areas.
Warm clothes/gloves/hat/blanket - shovelling snow off a stranded car will be easier if you're warm! And if you do find yourself stranded, winter temperatures drop rapidly, especially overnight. It won't be practical to keep the car heater running all the time so a blanket will help you to stay warm.
Boots/ice grips for shoes - perfect if you need to walk to safety.
First aid kit - an essential all year but in the winter, when response times by emergency vehicles may be longer, basic first aid may make all the difference to someone injured, while waiting for help to arrive.
Jump leads - In winter, your battery is under a lot of extra load. With the car heater and lights on for longer periods your battery may suffer if you do lots of short journeys. if your battery dies, a jump start from a passing motorist will help start the engine. When stranded, your heater will not keep you warm if your battery has died.
Windscreen washer fluid/screenwash - maintain maximum visibility in a snow storm by ensuring your screen is clean. When adding screenwash, check the bottle for instructions for details of the proportion of screenwash per litre of water as this can vary depending on the time of year. Refer to your vehicle's handbook for the exact capacity of your screen wash bottle.
Hi-visibility vest - A legal requirement on the continent, a hi-vis vest is a remarkably cheap but potentially lifesaving garment that should be kept in your door pocket or glovebox. If you do have to leave your vehicle, a hi-vis garment will help oncoming vehicles see you after dark or in reduced visibility situations.
Water/snacks - essential if you face a long wait for help or become stranded overnight, to maintain energy levels and keep blood sugar levels up. Non-perishable protein cereal bars are a good choice, as is chocolate, with bottled water, or better a flask with something warm.
How to get your car winter-ready
Before the winter sets in, and before starting out on any long journey, follow our simple winter car checklist:
To help you be winter ready, Bush Tyres offer a FREE winter check, including tyre pressure and depth, battery checks, wheel alignment and fluid levels. To take advantage of our free winter checks, call in to any of our depots today.