What to keep in your car this winter

* Essential items for motorists * Emergency food and drink * How to survive a night in your car...

What to keep in your car this winter

Unpredictable winter weather means every motorist runs the risk of being stranded at some point. An emergency car kit will make life easier if you end up having to spend the night in the car. Here's what to pack:

Keep a phone charger in the glovebox, complete with 12v adapter.

• 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 and gloves.

De-icer and a scraper.

• A torch, in case your journey extends into darkness. Check the batteries once a month.

• A high-visibility vest in case you have to stop.

• Something to put under the wheels if you get stuck. Strips of old carpet or cat litter work well.

• A shovel if you are in an area of high snowfall.

• A warning triangle or item of bright clothing that can be attached to the car will alert other motorists and emergency services.

• Keep a bottle of drinking water in the boot and some cereal bars or chocolate in the glovebox.

• An inflatable pillow will help you to sleep more easily.

• Hand warmers stay hot for around an hour and are useful while the engine is off.

If it looks like you're going to have to spend a night in the car, don't panic. Think rationally. First, get all of your emergency kit out of the boot and bring it into the cabin before the weather worsens. Put on the extra clothing. Don't dip into the food unless you're hungry - you may need to ration it through the night, especially if you have passengers. Lock all of the doors and try to sleep; again, if you have passengers you may need to crack open a window to keep the air fresh.

Start the engine every hour and run it for a few minutes - then turn on the heater and heated seats. Don't run any draining electrics with the engine off. Use your radio to keep abreast of local travel conditions. Only call the emergency services if you genuinely need medical assistance.

Find out how to get your car ready for winter here.