CAR (AA Advice)
Winter car essentials
Here's a checklist of the items you should always keep in your car over winter:
1. Ice scraper and de-icer
You never know when you'll wake up to an iced over windscreen or come back to a frozen car after a day out.
Make sure you always carry an ice-scraper and de-icer so you can effectively defrost your windscreen. If you don't remove snow and ice properly, you could get 3 points on your licence and a £100 fine.
Discover why your car heater's not working and what you should do about it.
2. Torch and spare batteries
Short days and long nights in winter mean you could be getting in and out of your car in the dark. Keep a torch handy to avoid any trips.
If you break down, you'll need to find a safe place to wait for roadside assistance. A torch will help light your way on a dark verge.
3. A fully charged mobile phone
If you're delayed because of bad weather (or a weather related incident), it's a good idea to let your loved ones know. It'll save them worrying and stop any distracting texts and phone calls coming in while you're behind the wheel.
Just remember not to use a handheld phone while driving. Pull into a safe rest stop to make a call or ask a passenger to do it for you.
If you install the AA app before you set off, you'll be able to easily plan a new route if there are diversions or call out a mechanic if you break down.
4. An in-car phone charger or power pack
This'll help with number 3 on the list, because you don't want a dead phone battery in an emergency.
5. Sat-nav or a printed route for an unfamiliar journey
The last thing you want is to get lost in the dark on unfamiliar roads. Fiddling with a sat nav could distract you from driving, so planning ahead is the best option.
6. A road atlas
Just in case there are diversions and you don't have any GPS signal, a road atlas will help you plan a new route.
It might seem strange to put sunglasses on a winter checklist. But actually, the low sun in winter can dazzle drivers and cause glare. Keep your sunnies in the car to make sure your vision isn't affected.
8. First aid kit
It's always a good idea to keep a first aid kit in your car. The British Standards Institution has guidelines on what to include like sterile wipes, plasters, dressings and scissors to treat minor wounds. A good kit should have all these.
9. Empty fuel can
You'd be surprised how many breakdowns are caused by running out of fuel. If you keep an empty fuel can in the car, you'll be able to nip to a filling station for a top up if you do run out.
You can always call us and we'll top you up with enough fuel to get you going again.
Main property water supply stopcock, normally one at edge of road (with meter sometimes) and another inside your house.
Do you know where they are?; easily accessed?; need a tool to turn tap off?; does it turn off?
It is recommended that garden taps should be turned off and the supply to them isolated leaving the tap open so frozen water in pipe can expand.
Same applies to stables and field water supplies.
In EMERGENCY do you know where main supply valve is?; have access to the meter cupboard?; know where the small small key for opening is?
If your central heating boiler is a pressurized system ( normally no supply tank in loft) then sometimes the water pressure within the system can drop below a working level and the boiler will turn off.
This has happened recently while owner was on holiday and house is frozen!!
The system will require re pressuring and is normally easily done via two water supply taps normally accessible under the boiler.
If in any doubt DO NOT TOUCH and get assistance.
Do you know how to turn power off in emergency; on older style fuse boards, have you fuse wire replacements?
With fuse boxes with modern RCD trips with a repeatable trip situation, turn off mains power to the box and set all fuses to off position.
Turn on mains supply to box making sure main RCD is reset (most pull down before resetting to ON position) then individually switch on each circuit.
If there still exists a fault in the system then the main RCD should then trip or fuse will trip. Continue the process until you can find the individual circuit causing problem and leave fuse in off position.
Normally by then you will probably have your lights back on (outside lights and high powered house equipment such as kettles, heaters are the main problem)
Occasionally an old style bulb will blow and take out a trip and everything will work as normal when RCD is reset.
Old style phones will still work but those connected via repeater stations connected to the mains will not work (web router will also be off)
On most computer controlled equipment which can lock up, best to completely unplug from the mains, wait a few seconds and power up and let the system recover automatically.
This clears most lockouts in my experience
If in any doubt DO NOT TOUCH and get assistance.
CONTACTS AND TELEPHONE NUMBERS
Make sure you have a list of service suppliers, telephone numbers, emergency contact numbers and of course details of your house insurance cover.