Heading out into winter weather requires drivers to be better prepared than perhaps they need to be at any other time of year: breaking down in snow or cold, wet weather is potentially dangerous with the essentials.
Drivers, therefore, need to be properly kitted out, ready for any eventuality, with equipment in their vehicle that will enable them to deal with almost anything the season throws at them.
Invest in a good-quality ice scraper or a rubber squeegee, both available from a car accessories store or a service station. They are relatively cheap and the even better scraper/insulated mitten do not cost a great deal more.
To help clear a windscreen on a frosty morning, a good de-icer will save a lot of scraping elbow grease. Safer and more effective than boiling water – which can crack a windscreen – de-icer sprayed over the whole surface of the screen is quick and easy.
A good-quality screen wash is essential at any time of the year, but it’s even more important in winter, thanks to the grime-filled spray thrown up by other vehicles. Drivers also need a higher concentration of screen wash in winter to prevent it freezing in extreme cold.
A torch is a must-have in the car, in case a vehicle loses electrical power and, as a result, lights. A head torch is an even better option, as it leaves a driver’s hands-free to change a wheel, for example.
Spare batteries for your torch, plus a charged-up portable charger for your mobile phone, are important to stay powered up in case you break down.
Drivers who don’t clear snow from the roof after a snowfall are creating problems for others: it can fall on to the road to refreeze or into the windscreens of following cars. A snow brush with an extendable handle enables drivers to clear the snow before starting their journey, helping everyone stay safe.
High visibility jacket
Many countries require all drivers including visitors to carry hi-vis/reflective jackets by law, helping them to be seen on the roadside if they have to stop for any reason. This is obviously especially important in winter when fleet drivers will spend so many of their days driving in darkness.
Spare clothes/foil blanket
In the event of a breakdown, drivers need to stay warm while waiting for help, so it’s a good idea to have a thick jumper, a warm coat and a blanket (perhaps even an emergency foil blanket) in the vehicle, just in case.
An emergency fold-up snow shovel could be a handy tool to have to hand in winter, as it could be crucial in helping drivers to dig themselves out of trouble if they get bogged down.
Satellite navigation and maps on phones are all well and good, but a decent old-school road atlas can help give drivers better perspective, thanks to the greater area covered by the large pages.
A set of snow socks is relatively inexpensive and a worthwhile investment. Keeping a set in the boot means that drivers can slip them on easily after a snowfall, the textile socks giving wheels more grip.