Getting stuck on the side of the road is never a pleasant experience any time of year. In winter though, the cold weather, reduced visibility and slick surfaces can make things that much worse. While normally you might be able to walk for help ... in the winter that could result in you being hit by another vehicle, getting lost in the snow, or becoming ill from the extreme cold. Here's what you need to make sure you have packed if you are planning a winter road trip.
Whether you’re on your way to work or are driving unfamiliar roads on a road trip, hearing your engine giving up on you is stressful to say the least. The best case scenario is that you manage to get to the hard shoulder before your engine gives up the ghost. If that doesn’t happen, you could face breaking down in the middle of a busy lane.
The absolute best way around this would be to do thorough checks on your vehicle at home. That way you make sure that you’re only ever driving it in top condition. But, we don’t all remember to do that when we should. That’s why endless drivers each day face sitting on the side of the road for hours. The good news is, what you have in your boot could well dictate how fast you get going again. If you don’t want to spend half your day on the side of the road, store these essentials somewhere in your car.
A Spare Tire
This is a no-brainer, yet countless drivers don’t bother. Tires go flat. But, this needn’t hold you up all that much if you have a spare to hand. You won’t even blink an eye at a flat if you can deal with it then and there. If you don’t have a spare, though, that quick job could turn into a day of waiting for the repair company.
A Good Jack
Of course, even your spare tire won’t help you if you don’t have a jack to get it on. There’s no way you’ll be able to do the switchover without one of these. Note that not every jack works with every car. If you’re in doubt, look at resources like this one which can help you find the best floor jack for your needs. As simple as that, you’ll make your life a whole lot simpler.
Portable Battery Jump Start Kit
Portable jump start kits are super cheap these days and can help your car get started should your battery fail you. With cold weather, a weak battery may die more quickly so having this option can save you hours of time waiting for AAA or another road side assistance from helping you. You may also want to buy a battery testing kit. That way, you can make sure this is your issue before pulling your engine apart. Personally, I love this jump starter that doubles as an emergency light and USB battery backup.
A Full Fuel Tank
Make sure to always keep your tank filled. During warmer months I often let my tank go to E since I know I can always find a filling station on time. In winter though, things are different. Not only do you not always know how long a drive is going to take you, but the cold weather can actually freeze water vapor and also lead to condensation of moisture in the air turning to water on the inside of the tank. Water and fuel are not friends so this can impact your vehicle's performance.