What to keep in your car during winter

It's a great idea to keep a bag of essential equipment in your car for when the temperature plummets, including tools to keep your car moving, supplies and blankets...

What to keep in your car during winter

Driving conditions can deteriorate rapidly, so it makes sense to keep a few things in your car so you're prepared for the worst. Ideally, no one wants to get stranded in their car, but it's worth getting everything ready in case it does happen.

Read on to find out what we recommend everyone keep in their car when driving in the winter, and don't forget to check out the rest of our winter driving advice.

What Car?’s guide to driving in winter
How to prepare your car for winter
How to drive in winter
What to do if you get stranded
Should I fit winter tyres?

broken down car and warning triangle

Warning triangle

If your car breaks down, you'll need to set up a warning triangle to warn traffic of your vehicle's presence and to make your car visible to the emergency services. For greater peace of mind, illuminated versions are also available. In our testing of the best emergency warning lights, the Wolfteeth warning triangle won over our testers.

Mobile phone charger

Keep a phone charger in the glovebox, complete with a 12V adapter for the cigarette lighter. Most mobile phones can now be charged via a USB cable, so it might be worth getting one to keep permanently in the car. If your phone supports it, you can also buy wireless charging mounts. We tested the best wireless charging phone holders, and found the MPOW CA148A to be the best.

Warm, waterproof clothing

Several thin layers are better than one thick jacket, but a warm fleece is essential. Don't forget a pair of thick socks, gloves and ideally wellies. It's also a good idea to keep a blanket in the car in case you get stranded overnight.

De-icer and a scraper

It’s useful to keep these on board all winter because you may have to clear the windows in the morning and when you return to your car at the end of the day.


This might seem like a strange item to be useful at this time of year, but driving when the sun is low in the sky is difficult and can be tiring, so wearing sunglasses is a good way to combat the poor visibility and glare that low sun can cause.


This is a handy item to keep in your car all year round. Either get a torch you can recharge in a cigarette lighter or USB port, or make sure you check the batteries once a month or carry spares.

Breakdown survey 2019

High-visibility vest

This will help to ensure you stand out as much as possible if you have to stop and get out of the car.

Shovel and two mats or strips of old carpet

If you’re in an area that’s likely to have a lot of snow, a shovel will be useful for digging snow away from your car’s driven wheels, and then you can put the carpet under them so you’ll be able to pull away.

Bottle of drinking water and snack bars

Should you have to spend the night in the car, water and some sustenance are important to help keep your strength up. A hot drink in a thermos is even better.

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