Winter Car Essentials
Preparing for bad weather can be as simple as checking your tyres, lights and oil. But those in rural areas or expected especially bad weather, you might need to consider what you would do if, despite your best laid plans, you become stranded. Sheffield is surrounded by plenty of beautiful countryside, from idyllic farmland to the majestic but barren Peak District. But if you become stuck, broken down, or crashed in these places and the winter weather is whipping up, these picturesque surroundings might seem less inviting.
Keeping a spare phone charge on a portable battery can really save your skin in a breakdown. A cheap battery from any high street camping or electrical shop can hold enough power to recharge your phone several times. It’s also worth considering keeping an adapter or cable to charge the phone from the cigarette lighter in the car. Most smartphones can now double as effective sat navs if you get really lost.
A can of fuel to get you to the nearest petrol station might be the difference between a night in the cold, and a quick detour on your way home. If you live in a remote area, trekking for fuel could be a serious hazard- prolonged exposure to very bad or cold weather can easily pose a risk to safety. Make sure you use a safe fuel can from a garage, and replace the fuel in it every so often- safe and responsible storage of fuel is vital.
A road atlas
We’ve already talked about using a phone as a satnav, but it’s always worth having the old fashioned version to back it up. Paper maps fit easily behind your seat and don’t crash or run out of power. Before long journeys it’s worth getting a rough idea of where you’re going anyway, and knowing where you are is vital when calling for roadside assistance.
Grab some energy bars, a bag of crisps or sweets, some bottled water- something that you can keep in the car for a while. If you face a long wait for a recovery vehicle it could really help- especially if you’ve got kids in the car. While we’re on the topic of sugary snacks, this advice goes double if you suffer from conditions that might be alleviated by topping up blood sugars such as diabetes or panic attacks.
If you have to take medication regularly, make sure there’s some in the car with a bottle of water, just in case. Inhalers, contact lenses, anything you might regret not having if you’re stuck in the car for a long time, make sure there’s some available. In addition some paracetamol, ibuprofen or similar, along with some wet wipes and plasters, are always worth keeping in the car.
It’s never a good a good idea to keep a lot of money in the car, but what if you lose your wallet and need some petrol? Or have to get a taxi to the nearest petrol station in the event of a breakdown? £20 cash might be difference between a walk and a taxi. Make sure it isn’t on show- opportunistic thieves may think there’s more cash in the car- and keep it somewhere you won’t be tempted to grab it for some shopping.
Warm clothes & boots
If you don’t fancy digging your car out of a snow drift in your work shoes, or trekking to the nearest petrol station in a suit jacket on a December night, bear in mind breakdowns occur when you least expect. Put a pair of wellies and a warm, waterproof coat in the boot, and some gloves in the glove box- it might be a big help if you find yourself out looking for a phone.
The best way to prepare for long journeys in bad weather is to get an expert to thoroughly check your car to ensure it’s running smoothly. Don’t ignore the need to keep something in your boot for emergencies, but catching those small problems before they become serious lessens the chance of you needing them.