Snow, ice, rain, wind, hail and sleet: driving in winter can feel like a real battle with the elements. Carry these winter car essentials, though, and it's a battle you can win …
Ice scraper or deicing spray: The fashion conscious can even get special gloves with scrapers attached. You can make your own deicer using water and a teaspoon of salt, or one part water to three parts vinegar, or one part water to two parts alcohol, and spray or wipe it on. Alternatively, cover your windscreen with a specially designed windscreen cover as a preventative measure the night before you travel.
Silicone stick or spray: Ever not been able to get your car door open because it was frozen to the rubber strip? You can get what's called a silicone stick or spray which you apply to the rubber to stop it freezing. Similarly, applying a lock lubricant spray can help stop your locks from freezing.
Winter tyres: These use a different type of rubber and have a different tread pattern from normal tyres to help them brake and handle better on snow and ice. You can also use snow socks, which are a fabric cover you put over your wheels to help them grip in the snow. They're easy to fit and will store in the boot when you're not using them.
Brighter headlamps: Xenon or LED headlamps provide brighter light than halogen bulbs, which means you can see the road ahead better. They may also last longer and use less electricity. Changing your headlamps is surprisingly easy and may well be a job you can do yourself.
Screen wash: It's sensible to have a higher concentration of screenwash in winter so it doesn't freeze.
Torch: An absolute must-have all year round. And make sure the batteries are fresh or that you have spares.
Road atlas: But I have Google Maps on my phone! we hear you cry. Yes, and it's wonderful until you can't get a signal or your battery dies (we always recommend carrying a portable phone charger to reduce the risk of the latter). Sometimes it's helpful to be able to look at a large map rather than a small screen, too.
High visibility jacket: It's actually a legal requirement in some countries, such as France, that you travel with a reflective jacket so you can be seen if you have to stop – and it's certainly sensible, especially in winter when it's dark.
Blanket: Plus some extra layers of clothing, or at least a warm coat, in case you break down. It might seem excessive, but if you do break down in the bitter cold, it'll be one of the best precautions you ever took. As, for very obvious reasons, will be having a shovel in the boot.
At Carwise Group we can offer sound driving advice in addition to reliable used cars. Just give us a call at our Maidstone, Harlow or Dunstable dealerships and we’ll be happy to answer your questions.