Driving in snow and severe winter conditions can be a dangerous lottery – so much so that one of the early signs of incoming bad weather is usually a warning from the police not to try it.
But what if you have no choice, or want to ensure you’re covered against the possibility of getting caught out in a sudden change of conditions?
The trick is to not treat your journey like a jaunt down the local shops (even if that’s all it is) and to make preparations that will cover you if things don’t go as planned.
You might only have a five-minute trip in mind, but poor conditions or accidents could force you into a longer journey in both time and distance, or even out of the car altogether. Leaving home in your shirt sleeves with a car running on fumes could easily come back to haunt you.
There are some essentials that we’re going to figure you don’t need our help in assembling. Just raid your cupboards. These include:
- Warm clothes, including a hat – lots of heat loss happens through the head. Also, boots as you can’t assume you’ll never have to get out of the car.
- A flashlight and spare batteries
- Food and drink – energy bars or nuts are good, allergies permitting
- Extra baby stuff, if relevant
Basic checks on your car include making sure you have more than enough fuel – a road closure might mean you get diverted around a longer route – and jump leads in case of a flat battery.
More complicated items include a first aid kit, a small shovel, chains for your tyres if the conditions are going to be really wretched and – strange though it sounds – cat litter as a way of dealing with wheel spin on slippery ground. You can also buy full breakdown kits with a collection of items in.
Winter driving kit
In some countries, these are compulsory. In the UK they fall under the heading of equipment that you won’t need very often – but, when you do, you’ll find very useful indeed.
Folding or collapsible shovels
These shovels aren’t the sort you could use on a building project – far too small – but keep one in the boot of your car and you’ll be well-set to dig yourself out of trouble.