Essential Winter Driving Kit Checklist

Driving in winter can be challenging, so it’s a good idea to prepare for colder and darker conditions by stocking up on some useful tools and supplies. In this article we’re going to explore the winter essentials we recommend having in your car, how you can help to keep yourself safe on more hazardous roads and how you can save money and keep on motoring for less this winter.

Ice scraper and de-icer

You should never drive with an unclear windscreen, mirrors, or windows – not only are you endangering yourself and other road users, but you’re also breaking the law. Driving with limited vision, caused by ice or condensation on your windscreen, could result in a £60 fine and three points on your licence.

Quick solutions like pouring boiling water on your windscreen can cause the glass to shatter, so it’s best to have the proper equipment to hand. By keeping an ice scraper and de-icer in your car you can make sure that your windscreen, mirrors and windows remain clear, safe and legal.

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Fully charged mobile phone

It's even more important to have your mobile charged when you're driving in winter so that you can reach out for help if you need it, and also be contacted yourself. If your car has a USB charging port then keep a mobile charger lead in the car so you can charge your phone as you go. If your car doesn’t have a suitable port, then there are lots of gadgets on the market that will do the same usually using the cigarette lighter as the charging point.

If you're a member of a breakdown service, then make sure that you have their number to hand too. You’ll usually receive a card to keep in your wallet when you sign up, as well as a member’s booklet that you can keep in the glovebox.

Warm clothing

Being stranded with a dead battery is bad enough at any time of year, but the cold winter months can make waiting for roadside assistance a real struggle, especially with kids. Keeping some warm clothes in the boot can be a lifesaver, so make sure to pack jackets, fleeces, hats and scarves for the whole family.

Blanket or travel rug

A blanket or travel rug is another useful item to keep you warm and comfortable if you get stuck in cold weather, particularly if you’re travelling with children or the elderly.

Food and snacks

The glove compartment is a good place to keep some snacks to keep energy levels up and blood sugars in check. Protein cereal bars are a great choice and easy to store. A couple of chocolate bars and some bottles of water will stand you in good stead if you find yourself stuck for any reason.

Hi-vis clothing

If you do have to get out of the car, either to wait for help or perhaps clear snow, you need to be seen. With less daylight hours in winter, it can get dark quite quickly in the evenings so a hi-vis jacket or vest will mean you won't be missed by other drivers.

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Snow shovel and a broom

We’d always recommend having a snow shovel on hand during the winter to avoid getting stranded, whether you need to clear a path around your vehicle after a sudden drift or you’ve woken up in the morning and there's been heavy snowfall during the night.

At home or away, a snow shovel and broom will really come in handy to clear your path and get you on your way.

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De-icing salt

De-icing salt is a winter essential, as it works quickly to remove snow and ice without leaving any muddy residue.

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Snow chains or snow socks

If the weather really takes a turn for the worse, then snow chains or socks for your tyres will help to keep you moving in snowy or icy conditions. Increasing your grip on the roads and giving you greater braking performance, these easy-to-fit accessories are a must-have for sudden downfalls.

You can use our helpful tool to find the right snow chains for your car here, and it's a good idea to practice putting them on and removing them before you really need to use them. If you need a hand, you can always pop in-store for some help and advice.

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Sturdy boots and a set of ice grips

For extra purchase on icy and snowy ground, a good quality pair of boots and a set of ice grips is a must. You can clear your windscreen, shovel snow and carry out any quick car fixes without worrying about slipping over - plus, your feet will stay nice and warm!

Emergency warning triangle

If your car does break down, then an emergency warning triangle placed 45 metres (147 feet) behind your vehicle on the same side of the road will alert other vehicles that you're ahead. Just be careful when you're retrieving it.

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Tow rope

Having a tow rope in the car during winter can get you out of some tricky situations, whether your car needs to be towed after a breakdown or another driver needs some help.

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Jump leads

Jump leads are useful to have in the boot of your car all year around, but particularly in winter. Typically, car batteries hold their charge using a liquid electrolyte solution, which is sensitive to varying temperatures. Colder weather slows down this chemical process, reducing the battery’s ability to hold a charge, so you might find that your battery falls flat more often in the winter.

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Tyre inflator

If you suffer a puncture and the tyre isn't completely blown, then having a tyre inflator will mean you can add enough air to get you to your destination or the nearest garage.

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First aid kit

You never know what the winter weather is going to throw at you, so it’s best to be prepared for all eventualities. We stock a variety of different first aid kits to keep you safe and happy, so be sure to keep one handy for any winter adventures.

That being said, it's still a good idea to have a first aid kit in your car at all times of the year.

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Be sure to pack a sturdy torch for winter driving as the darker nights draw in. If you do end up stranded or stuck by the side of the road, you'll at least be able to take a look at the car and your surroundings without having to rely on your car's interior light or your phone.

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Spare car bulbs

You’re likely to do more driving in the dark during the winter thanks to the shorter days, so it’s even more important to make sure that all your lights are working – not only is it unsafe to have one out, it’s also illegal. Keep some spares in the car to make sure you can get home safely.

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Winter driving tips

Before each journey, it’s a good idea to go through the POWDERY checklist. The things to check are as follows:

  • P for Petrol (or diesel) – have you got enough? Do you know where to fill up?
  • O for Oil – check your levels once a month
  • W for Water – check your radiator and screenwash regularly. Our -30 Concentrated Screenwash is perfect for winter conditions
  • D for Damage – check your wipers and lights for signs of wear and tear or damage, and make sure your windscreen, windows and lights are clear of ice and snow
  • E for Electrics – check that your lights, indicators and controls are working properly
  • R for Rubber tyres – – make sure that they’re well inflated and free from damage, with a legal tread depth
  • Y for You – are you fit to drive? Have you slept well? Are you taking any medicine that could make it unsafe for you to drive?

Motoring for less this winter

As the cost-of-living continues to rise, we’re here to help you save money across all your motoring needs. Our dedicated Motoring for Less hub brings together all the ways that you can keep costs down with Halfords including discounts, deals, hints and tips, free checks and more in one convenient location.

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Never Beaten on Price

Our Never Beaten on Price promise covers thousands of motoring essentials including fitted tyres, wiper blades, batteries and bulbs. We’ve also reduced the prices of a wide range of products, providing great value for money and ensuring a little more change remains in your back pocket.

Halfords Motoring Club

One of the best ways to keep on motoring for less and prepare for winter journeys is to join the Halfords Motoring Club. You’ll get access to a range of amazing benefits and discounts that are designed to keep you moving, keep you safe and keep you saving.

It’s free to join and you’ll receive money off your MOT, a free car health check and a welcome voucher that can be spent on any Halfords product or service.

Or choose our Premium membership for a small monthly fee (or a one-off payment) to unlock exclusive member pricing on all motoring products and services online and across our stores, garages and Halfords Mobile Experts, as well as a variety of other benefits that will help you to keep moving for less.

With so much to enjoy, this is too good an opportunity to miss!

Join the Halfords Motoring Club today at

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