Winter emergency breakdown kit

It's no surprise that the weather is one of the most popular topics of conversation in the UK. Raining one minute, sunshine the next, too hot, too wet, no two days are the same. But at least it gives us something to talk about.

Warning triangle by a car

One thing for certain, is during the winter, the days will get shorter and the temperature will drop. The harsh weather can have an effect on your car and increase the chances of a breakdown. You don't know how long you could wait for the recovery services in the chilly weather, so you need to prepare.

To help you, we've put together a list of the essential items to keep in your car when driving in the winter.

Ice scraper and de-icer

It's important to keep your front and rear windscreen clear of frost or snow. In fact, it's legal requirement to clear them before you drive. An Ice scraper is essential and the de-icer speeds up the process. Keep them both in your car ahead of the return journey, or if you break down and the windscreen starts to freeze over.

Torch and spare batteries

If you get stuck in a dark unlit road on a winter's evening, it can be a frightening experience. Depending on where you break down it could also be dangerous. A torch with spare batteries or a wind-up torch should definitely be in your breakdown kit.

Jump leads

New cars as well as older ones can suffer flat batteries and it's far more likely to happen in colder weather. Jump leads, with the help from a passing motorist will get the battery going again.

Food and a warm drink

If your car breaks down, it's possible you could be waiting a while for recovery. In winter, with poor weather conditions and being hungry, the wait can feel even longer. Food and drink should be high on your essential kit list, especially if you have kids in the car. A flask of tea, coffee, hot chocolate or soup is a must.

Warm clothes

A breakdown could mean a long wait in the cold, so it's best to have something warm to wrap up in. Pack a warm coat, spare jumper, hat, gloves and wellies, for yourself and all passengers.  It's important to have warm clothes they can put on to help stay comfortable in the cold.

First aid kit

Make sure to have a first aid kit in your car for minor injuries. Get a small first aid kit that includes wipes, plasters, dressings, scissors and gloves. Keep your first aid kit in the car at all times as you never know when you might need it.

Mobile phone charger

When your car breaks down you'll need to get help, so having a charged mobile phone is essential. If it's run out of power that could be a problem, so having an in-car charger or a portable battery charger will help.

Emergency warning triangle

These are used to warn other motorists that you have broken down. Place one triangle in front of your car and one at the rear. It's a good idea to have your hazard lights on too.


If you run into thick snow on smaller untreated roads, it's possible your wheels can get stuck. Use a shovel to dig the snow from around the wheels and in front of the car. You can buy a foldable shovel if you don't have much space in your car.


During winter, the sun is lower in the sky creating a glare which makes it difficult to see the road. Improve visibility by wearing a pair of sunglasses when driving.

Broken down?

Contact RAC Motability Assist on 0800 731 1173. Their lines are open 24 hours a day for roadside support. Keep their contact details on you or keep them in the car so you have them ready in the event of a breakdown.

Share this article