What to do if you get stranded in winter

If the worst happens and you get stuck in your car, don't panic. Follow our simple advice and you'll be prepared if you have to spend the night in your car...

Should I buy winter tyres?

Getting stuck in your car is one of the most dangerous pitfalls of winter driving, whether you find yourself snowbound or just held in traffic. Here are a few simple measures that you can take to help:

What Car?’s guide to driving in winter

How to prepare your car for winter
What to carry in your car during winter
How to drive in winter
Should I fit winter tyres?

Prepare an emergency kit

Ensure that you that have all our emergency kit items in your car before you set out, because they will make spending a few hours or a whole night in your car more bearable. Before setting off, make sure your car has plenty of fuel in it, or is fully charged so you can run the engine to keep yourself warm if you get stranded at the roadside.

Keep the engine running when possible

As well as keeping you warm, this will stop the engine from freezing in extreme conditions. If you have to spend the night in the car, don’t panic. Get your emergency kit together and put on extra clothing. Lock all the doors and try to get some sleep. Start the engine every hour to run it for a few minutes to warm both it and the interior. In heavy snow, make sure the exhaust pipe is clear of obstructions before turning the engine on.

Heater and heated seats

Make sure that you only run the heater when the engine is on, otherwise you risk flattening the battery. Drivers of electric vehicles will find that heated seats use less charge than heaters.

If you have to leave the car

Make yourself as visible as you can to other road users, and do the same for your car is as well. Try to stop in such a way that the road is clear for emergency services. If there is a barrier at the side of the road, stand behind it. Make a note of where your car is; roadside markers or your smartphone can provide you with this information.

If you're stranded in a remote location

Don’t leave your car. It will protect you from the elements and make it easier for the emergency services to find you.

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