Driving in the snow this week? Here’s our guide to 10 essentials for a snowy road trip.
This week the whole country has been talking about snow. It’s on the news, in the papers and it’s the main talking point of just about everyone I’ve met this week.
While most people are bulk buying bread and soup with concrete plans to stay at home and turn the heating up all weekend, I’ve been wanderlusting over Instagram photos of snowy hills and mountains and making plans to head up to the Peak District on Saturday morning.
While I only have plans to tackle some of the easier walks around the Hope Valley, the biggest challenge is getting there in the first place. If I’m going to believe some of the sensationalist headlines such as ‘Britain Grinds to a Halt as Big Freeze Sets In’ or ‘Traffic Chaos as Temperatures Plummet’, then it might be a bit tricky as I head onto some of the country roads around the Peaks.
However, as I drive an SUV that’s fitted with snow tyres, I’m not going to let that put me off, but I am going to take some precautions and make sure that the car is packed up with a few essential items for winter travel.
If you’re heading out this weekend, check out the list below and make sure you’re packing the essentials.
If you get stuck in the snow the first thing you’re going to need is your phone to call for help. Having a fully charged phone is essential for any winter driving so make sure you’ve got a charger in your car. As well as needing your phone for calls, you could also need the sat nav to reroute you in case of road closures, you may need the torch if you’re out at night, and you can use the weather and news apps to stay updated on road conditions.
Full Tank of Fuel
If you’re stuck in a traffic jam due to heavy snow, or even worse, stuck on your own by the side of the road, the last thing you want to be worrying about is running out of fuel.
Keep your tank topped up and if the worst happens and you do end up stuck somewhere, you can keep your engine running to keep the heaters and lights on.
If you’re heading out for an adventure this weekend, make sure to take a few extra clothing items in your car. It only takes a couple of minutes to pack an extra bag to keep in the car and that could make all the difference if you are stuck on a motorway for hours, or end up with wet socks.
Spare socks, a jumper, fleece, coat and hat should be packed into a bag and kept inside the car. Store it in the car and not the boot, for easy access.
Food and Drink
At the very least you should pack a couple of extra bottles of water for your journey, but if there’s even a small chance that you could get stuck somewhere for a few hours you are probably going to want a few snacks to keep you going.
Snacks with a long shelf life are the best option because you can always leave them in the car for your next adventure if you don’t need them this time.
Gloves are so essential that they deserve their own mention. Try changing a wheel, scraping ice from your windscreen or digging your car out of snow without them and you’ll soon realise why.
Freezing cold weather is a killer of car batteries so make sure you’ve got a set of jump leads in your boot so you can get yourself going again if you end up with a flat battery.
There’s nothing worse than having to wait hours to be rescued when all you need is a bit of life in your battery. I have first-hand experience of this, and now the jump leads are always packed in the boot.
I’m sure that packing a shovel is on almost all of the lists similar to this one, but here in the UK how often do we actually do that? Is packing a shovel a bit overkill for the amount of snow we get here?
The honest answer to that is probably yes, we’re not in Canada. But, for the amount of time it will take to walk to the garden shed to grab a shovel and put it in the boot of your car, you may as well do it. Imagine how much you’d regret not doing that if you ever got into a situation where you needed that shovel.
Salt, Sand or Cat Litter
If you don’t fancy shelling out for snow tyres, then a bag of salt rock, sand or cat litter could really help you out if your wheels are spinning in the snow and ice.
Throw some big handfuls under your tyres and it should give you enough traction to get moving again.
If you get really stuck, and cat litter and a shovel just won’t do the job, your next best thing is a tow rope. If you’re lucky enough to flag a friendly 4×4 driver down, the tow rope will drag you out of the snow and get you going again.
Check your owners manual to find out the best place to attach the rope to your car.
First Aid Kit
A well-stocked first aid kit should an essential for any road trip, summer or winter. If you’re heading out for a snowy adventure this weekend it’s worth checking that it contains everything you might need.
What do you pack for your winter road trips? If we’ve missed anything, please tell us in the comments below.