The 14 essential things you need in your car to fight the beast from the east .
Posted in Connect on February 28, 2018.
The Met office are warning of disruption on the roads around Ireland this week, we all know the roads can become treacherous in the snow. Driving can be tricky and if you have the misfortune to break down you’ll probably be stuck for a while. All Mayo County Council updates on the current Weather conditions will be posted across our social media sites: Mayo County Council Facebook Page; Mayo County Council Twitter; and Mayo.ie
Driving in snow can be tricky if you don’t have the right kit – here are some tips and advice.
Fully clearing windscreens, increasing distances from the vehicle in front and avoiding high revs are among tips for driving in snow issued by a road safety officer Mr Noel Gibbons.
“Keep well back from the driver in front as stopping distances can be ten times greater on icy roads than on dry ones.”
Whether you are heading on a short or long journey these are the things you should have in your car at all times.
The Road safety office of Mayo County Council said that these are the essential items you must pack in your car when you head out in snowy conditions.
If you do get unlucky and suffer a breakdown – more likely in treacherous conditions – these items will help you stay safe until help comes.
- High-visibility jacket
It’s not necessarily enough to keep you warm – but it’s crucial from a safety perspective if you need to leave your car in the dark as you’ll be seen by other motorists.
One of these could actually save your life and definitely should be included as one of the most important emergency items to keep in your car. In fact, an item of high visibility jacket clothing is required by law in some European countries, including France and Spain.
Don’t be fooled by the winter weather – the sun is still out there.
And low winter sun can seriously hinder driver visibility. Creating a glare, it can make seeing the road a challenge.
So make sure you have a pair of sunglasses on you.
3. Boots with a good grip
Not only should you don sensible footwear for the journey – but also keep a spare pair of boots in the car during winter weather.
This is in case you need to leave your vehicle in an area of heavy snow or slippery conditions.
You could find boots with a strong grip become a lifesaver.
4. Ice scraper and de-icer
keep your front and back windscreens clear of snow and ice.
So save your credit card and invest in a proper scraper, especially if your car isn’t kitted out with heated windscreens to speed up the process.
A deicer spray could also come in handy.
In wintry conditions you will need to do this before setting off but both items need to be kept in the car ahead of the return journey – or in the event of being stranded somewhere, with the windscreen frosting over.
5. Torch and spare batteries
If you break down on a country road after 6pm, chances are you’ll be in the dark.
And that’s where a torch could help you avoid a frightening and potentially dangerous situation.
A large torch with spare batteries or a wind-up torch which doesn’t require battery power should definitely be among your breakdown kit essentials.
6. Warm clothes and blankets
It’s cold out there. And even if you know your car’s going to be toasty with the heating on, still travel with a coat in the car.
A breakdown could mean a long wait with no heat, so it’s sensible to have some warm clothes to wrap up in – a big coat, gloves, a spare jumper, hat and gloves.
And not just for you – try to make sure all passengers have warm clothes so they can stay comfortable in freezing temperatures too.
7. First aid kit
Don’t forget a first aid kit in a winter driving checklist to deal with minor injuries.
There is a national standard for first aid provision within motor vehicles, devised by the British Standards Institution (BSI).
A small first aid kit should include sterile cleansing wipes, washproof plasters in assorted sizes, dressings, scissors, nitrile powder-free gloves and a Revive-Aid resuscitation face shield – or similar product. Of course, having a first aid kit in the car is good practice at any time of the year.
8. Jump start cables
It’s likely we’ve all suffered a flat battery at some point in our driving lives. But they are even more common in winter.
Always have a set of jump start cables or jump leads in the car, which will help to get the battery going again and the car on the move – whether you get assistance from a passing fellow motorist or a roadside recovery .
9. Empty fuel can
Some breakdowns aren’t due to a flat battery, engine failure, or a mechanical fault.
Sometimes, your car will grind to a halt simply – and annoyingly – because it has run out of fuel
This is obviously easily fixed providing you can find your way to a petrol station, and once there you’ll need a can to fill with fuel.
10. Food and drink
Remember if you breakdown and can’t get an immediate rescue then there could be some hungry mouths to feed.
If you have children it could be a particularly urgent situation. So remember to take supplies – and make a big flash of hot tea, coffee, hot chocolate or soup a high priority.
This may seem over cautious but on smaller roads – which tend to be less cleared – a shovel could save you from getting stuck.
And if your short of space then you can even buy foldable versions.
12. Two reflective warning signs
A reflective warning sign is a legal requirement in many European nations.
It usually comes in the form of a triangle and is used to warn other motorists that your vehicle has broken down to help to avoid collisions.
You need two – one to position in front of the car and the second at the rear.
Ideally, the stand of the sign will be solid so it’s not easily blown over and the reflective quality makes it visible in the dark.
The signs should be at least 45 metres – that’s 147 feet – behind the car, however, never use them on motorways.
13. A road atlas
You’ve got a sat nav, right? Wrong, apparently.
Because sometimes your sat nav can send you on a wild goose chase, run out of battery – or just stop working.
And it’s then the trusty map comes into its own.
14. In-car phone charger
Breaking down is not the time for your mobile phone to run out of power, so an in-car charger should always be kept in the car.
What if you break down somewhere with no phone signal? If you’re on the motorway you’ll need to locate the nearest emergency phone.
On quieter roads, assess the situation – it may be a case of walking to the nearest house or sitting tight and waiting for a passing motorist to stop and help.
Just don’t do it If all else fails, the best way to avoid hazardous conditions if the weather is particularly bad is to ditch the car and not drive at all.