Essential car accessories for winter

Keeping a few essential accessories in your car can prepare you well for the worst of Britain's weather.

Feature body: Advice says that you should avoid driving where possible in winter as Britain's roads and vehicles are known not to be well equipped for cold weather conditions. Yet for many travelling to work or who wish to visit relatives, driving even in these conditions is a necessity.

However, carefully following tips for driving in winter can help to keep you safe on the roads. Additionally, having a number of emergency supplies on hand can help you continue driving through this cold season.

Here are just a few pieces of equipment it is worth keeping in your car this winter.

Anti-freeze and an ice scraper

You will not be going anywhere unless your visibility as at its optimum level. Yet in winter it is very easy for your windows to get coated in ice.

Before setting off, it is imperative that you ensure all of your windows are completely clear. Carry a can of anti-freeze in your car to quickly spray on your windows and melt the ice and then take all of the residual moisture off with a scraper.

You can get by with just an ice scraper, however this will make your task take that bit longer. Having your air con on and pointing at your windows is an absolute must in this case or else, in particularly chilly conditions, you may find that you cannot clear the ice fast enough for it to freeze over again.

Jump leads

Sometimes in winter you will have a tough job getting your vehicle to start, particularly with older models, so it is worthwhile having jump leads in your car in case you cannot get it moving. It will save you money on having to call out your breakdown company.

Get someone to pull up alongside your car and ensure that your vehicles are the same voltage, are not touching, have their handbrakes on and ignition off. After that connect up the red lead from the terminal in your car to that of the other car. Then connect the black lead from the negative terminal on the working vehicle to an earthing point on your car.

Wait for three minutes and then start the engine of the good vehicle, then wait another minute before turning on the ignition in your car. Leave them for another ten minutes while you wait for your battery to fully charge. After that, switch off the engine of both vehicles and disconnect the leads; if there is not a more serious problem then you car should be able to start using its own battery after that.

Always check instructions from your manufacturer on how to jump start your vehicle before doing it yourself as there may be specific requirements for the model of your car.

Snow chains

If you live in a fairly remote area then getting around is going to be particularly troublesome in heavy snow as often the roads in such places are not treated with salt and grit.

Should you face a particularly heavy blizzard then you may find it worthwhile having snow chains to maintain traction on the roads.

Snow chains can only be used when the road is completely covered by compacted snow or ice as they can otherwise damage the road and your vehicle. Therefore, as the majority of busy roads are gritted in the UK when conditions are icy, you should be prepared to equip and remove snow chains from your car several times during your journey.

It is important to practice putting your chains on and taking them off your vehicle not only to minimise disruption to your journey but also because you need to make sure you have enough space between your wheel arches and vehicle suspension to do so. If not then you will need to change your tyres.

Blanket or sleeping bag

In spite of your best efforts, it is always worthwhile being prepared in the event that you get stuck. Keep a blanket or a sleeping bag in your car at all times so that you can keep warm if you find yourself having to wait for a recovery vehicle to come and pick you up.


  • On: 05 December 2013
  • By: CarShop

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