Ten things you need to keep in your car

As the weather starts to take a turn for the worse, from torrential rain to dipping temperatures, it sadly means that traffic delays and disruptions on the roads are highly likely. Best case scenario you’re a little late, but worse case you could be stranded in your car for a while, potentially for a few hours – or more. You could be lucky and are able to secure your car and take alternative travel, but you may also have no other option that to wait inside the car.


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Ensuring that your car is packed with essentials during winter is a top priority, but it is also worth keeping these items in your car all year round as disruptions can happen at any time. To get your travel survival kit started, here are 10 things you should keep in your car, just in case!

  1. Mobile power bank or charging cable. Our phones are an essential part of our lives, whether we like to admit it or not. Not just for posting photos on Instagram and updating our statuses, but our phones can be our lifeline too. From car breakdowns to getting lost on our travels, being able to call for help is essential, so ensuring your phone is fully charged before leaving home is a priority and making sure you have a way to charge your phone is equally important. Even if it is just to call someone to tell them you’ll be late.

  2. An up-to-date map or Sat Nav. Most of us will use our phones as a map these days, but whether it’s Google maps or a printed one, ensuring you know where you are can be really important especially when you are needing a recovery van, emergency services or if someone is coming to your rescue. Most recovery organisations will ask you to pick out any landmarks to help the operator reach you faster, but depending where you are and if it’s dark, picking out landmarks may be difficult. Having an idea of what road your on, what street you are near and even what direction you’re travelling will mean a faster recovery.

  3. Warm and waterproof clothing. Getting stranded for long periods of time can be quite common during winter, especially when it’s snowing or icy. You may need to preserve your car battery and fuel so running the heating full blast might not be an option after a while. It’s always a good idea to have a spare waterproof jacket, some gloves, and boots if you can, stored in the car. Not only will they keep you warm in the car but will come in handy in you need to walk for help.

  4. Again, important for keeping warm whilst you wait for recovery or if you’re caught in traffic for a long time. It will conserve your heating for when you really need it.

  5. De-icer/scraper. Snow and ice can develop at any time, so making sure you can clear your screen throughout your journey is important, not just when you are setting off. They are small to store, cheap to buy and a must-have for any driver and their car.

  6. Bottles of water and snacks. If going on a long journey in bad weather, it is also advisable to take supplies of food and drink. You never know what difficulties you may run into and how long you are going to be stuck, so staying hydrated is really important. Snacks such as cereal bars or oats bars are good for their high sugar content and won’t be at risk of going off.

  7. A torch with working batteries. If it is dark when you breakdown you may need to get out of the car to see what the problem is. Motoring organisations will always try to identify the cause of the breakdown when the member calls to ensure the operator arrives with any special equipment needed, and the appropriate recovery vehicle.

  8. A first aid kit. If you are involved in a minor accident, or even see another collision on the roads, it is always best to be prepared.

  9. A set of jump leads. The cold weather puts an additional strain on the battery, which can often be remedied with the help of another motorist. It could save you waiting on a recovery vehicle and the call out charge.

  10. A spare wheel. Check your tyres are in good condition, with an adequate tread and tyre pressure. Knowing how to change your own tyre will get you back on the road much quicker and could also save you money on a recovery call out fee too.

Of course, if the weather conditions are severe, we would recommend not driving altogether but sometimes this is unavoidable and conditions can worsen as you set out on your journey. Always try to tell someone what time you are travelling and when you expect to arrive. This will alert them should you encounter any difficulties. You can also make sure your car is prepared for the winter by checking your tyres, topping up your oil and getting it serviced.

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