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Holding Icon Winter Survival Guide - Essential Equipment

Winter Survival Guide - Essential Equipment

SAS survival expert, John 'Lofty' Wiseman

The majority of the UK has been colder than Stockholm for at least three weeks during the past five winters and many experts are warning that blizzards, extreme cold and record-breaking snowfall lie ahead.

The best defence against the elements is forward planning and those drivers that carry the right equipment with them in their cars are more likely to remain safe and mobile.

There are some things that can be found in the home that should be considered essential:

  • Food - non-perishable, high-energy food and snacks such as chocolate or nuts are best. Plus bottled water and a hot drink in a flask to keep you hydrated.
  • Warm clothes - including a waterproof jacket, hat, scarf and gloves
  • Practical footwear - sturdy walking boots or wellingtons should be carried in case you need to continue on foot.
  • Mobile phone - keep your mobile charged and ensure you have any emergency numbers (e.g. breakdown service provider) with you.
  • Vehicle handbook - often overlooked but full of useful information about your car, so keep it in the car with you.

We have also compiled a list of 'sub-zero heroes' available from Halfords stores, which will help motorists avoid being left out in the cold this winter.

  • AA emergency winter car kit - contains useful emergency items including a foldable snow shovel, adult high visibility vest, foil blanket, LED torch, snow and Ice grips, booster cables and waterproof poncho.
  • AA snow and ice grips - avoid slip-ups with these universal grips that fasten easily to footwear to provide a sure-footing.
  • Halfords motorist's tool kit - a set of the most essential tools in case of an emergency. Its compact storage case makes it perfect for keeping in your car at all times.
  • Halfords screenwash - rated to -5 -10 -20 and -30 for all weather conditions.
  • Holts tyreweld, 400ml - snow and ice can obscure puncture causing potholes and debris. This emergency puncture repair solution seals and inflates punctured tyres instantly eliminating the need for a roadside wheel change.
  • Plasti-can, 5 litre - the weather and resulting traffic mean journeys can take longer so carrying spare fuel is recommended (available for petrol and diesel).
  • Tyre snow grip - a temporary spray on snow chain that improves traction on ice, snow and wet surfaces when you have dug your way out.
  • Universal multigrip snow socks - a lightweight but durable alternative to snow chains that can be fitted in two minutes to provide you with the grip in deeper snow and on icy roads.
  • Halfords first aid kit - contains a fire extinguisher because stationary traffic can lead to engine overheating, plus a thermal blanket should you become stranded, in addition to all the usual dressings and plasters.
  • Halfords heavy duty tow rope - suitable for small, medium and larger cars up to 3.5 tonnes. Complete with two convenient heavy duty snap hooks, warning flag and 'on tow' sign.
  • 12 volt heater - a compact car heater designed for defrosting and as a heating aid in more extreme temperatures.
  • USB car charger - provides up to 1 amp of power from your car's cigarette lighter socket. Ensure your phone is always charged in case of emergency (compatible with most smart phones including the iPhone 5).

Survival Tip

Your mobile phone is a survival tool so make sure it has plenty of battery. I heard of a man who got stuck up a mountain in Hong Kong and couldn't contact his base camp but managed to ring his wife in Singapore who initiated a rescue.

Winter Survival Guide

Download the complete guide

Winter Survival Guide cover


Amid falling temperatures and rising levels of concern among drivers, Halfords Autocentres has worked with renowned survival expert, former SAS Sergeant Major and author of the best-selling SAS Survival Handbook John 'Lofty' Wiseman to create the ultimate Motoring Survival Guide.

Download the complete guide or read on for more winter survival advice.