Prepping for driving in the snow

(26 Posts)
hebihebi Tue 10-Nov-15 15:44:17

Since moving north a few years ago, I seem to get stuck in the snow at least once per winter. I'm really nervous about it. I'm thinking about getting a small foldable spade to keep in the car. A blanket (just in case). I've read that cat litter is good for providing traction but I'm not sure about it. Whether it's a good idea to carry a small bag of it. How much would I need? About a litre? Does anyone else carry anything just in case? I'm interested in hearing what others do.

cozietoesie Tue 10-Nov-15 15:48:03

What kind of car do you have, hebi ?

SoupDragon Tue 10-Nov-15 15:52:27

I am not a prepper but I have tyre socks in the boot of my car. You slip them over your tyres to improve traction on snow.

Allegedly, one small candle is enough to keep the inside of a car warm although I'm not sur elf I believe it or not.

SoupDragon Tue 10-Nov-15 15:52:58

"Sure if"

no elf involved.

hebihebi Tue 10-Nov-15 16:06:15

It's a Honda Freed but it's a hybrid so no 4WD. Really regret that decision now but too late now. I have winter tyres but they just clear the center of the roads here so if you meet another car coming the other way then you have to move in the deep snow to let it past. I try to just drive slowly and steadily but last year I got stuck part way up a hill. A kindly passerby tried to help but I ended up having to reverse all the way back down the hill and go home a different way. blush

hebihebi Tue 10-Nov-15 16:08:05

The tyre socks look interesting but it says they can't be used on slopes. I'll read some more about them. Thanks!

cozietoesie Tue 10-Nov-15 16:23:21

Realistically, you should be judging your journeys and routes by the risk and making preparations accordingly. (And I've seen plenty of bad driving and bad judgements made by people in 4WD cars who have thought 'Oh my car is 4WD so I shouldn't have a problem' more or less.) There are plenty of times that a 4WD isn't going to help you - and certainly not if you aren't a decent 4WD driver.

Do you check road conditions before you go out and have you any options about travelling on certain routes in indifferent weather? (You might have a job which requires you to go to certain places at certain times, for example.)

atticusclaw2 Tue 10-Nov-15 16:24:24

We get snowed in a lot and it has taken nearly 5 hours to do a 30 minute commute home before (rural but its getting out of the city that tends to be the problem)

In my winter car kit I have:

hat for all
scarf for all
gloves for all
boots for all
my ski trousers (since I'm generally in a skirt suit and heels for work)
high vis jacket
warning triangle
seat belt cutter/torch/emergency beacon (the AA do a good 3 in 1 tool)
cat litter
a couple of bits of old carpet (again for traction)
a couple of small bags of salt
deicer
windscreen wash
WD40
water
snacks and sweets
tea light candles and matches with an empty tin can
first aid kit
spare battery for phone
phone chargers
blankets (in fact we generally keep a couple of sleeping bags in the back of the car since the DCs like to snuggle in them)
spare fuel
spare cash
jump leads
tow rope
2 x foldable spades
If its snowing when we leave I also take hot drinks in a flask and text DH which route I'll be taking.

This all just stays in my car boot all winter in a box.

cozietoesie Tue 10-Nov-15 16:28:11

Blimey, atticus. Well done.

atticusclaw2 Tue 10-Nov-15 16:35:23

I remembered it all since I packed the box at the weekend (although I won't put it in the car for a few weeks yet with this mild weather). It goes in a large flat box in the boot and doesn't take up as much space as you'd think (although we do have a 4x4).

DH towed five people last year and we didn't even have that much snow. Two of those cars went into ditches and he pulled them out. So many people drive in the snow without being properly prepared

Scotslasslivinginfrance Tue 10-Nov-15 16:39:30

Wow atticus I'm impressed!

A shovel is a good idea, also cat litter / grit you don't need masses just enough to throw under the wheels for a bit grip.

With a good set of winter tyres you should be fine, maybe you just need to be a bit more confident with your winter driving, don't drive too slowly as you can lose traction and you need to approach hills at speed.

Know the proportions / width of your car so that you aren't pulling too far off the road to pass others.

swisscheesetony Tue 10-Nov-15 16:39:36

Grub, drink, clothes, torch in car obv.

Foot mats can be wedged under the tyres for traction.

If you're driving on something where there's little traction because it's been flattened out or icy, you can try sticking your left wheels just on the verge (assuming you mean country roads), that's often enough to get you going and will give you the feeling you're in control.

Driving in the snow and ice is largely a confidence and staying out of the way of townies issue. Deep breaths and carry on.

Beware BMW's, they're rear-wheel drive so when they slip they spin...

cozietoesie Tue 10-Nov-15 16:52:45

PS - I'm conscious, atticus, that you're snowed in a lot but that hebi is 'only' likely to be stuck in snow in her car once a year on her current estimate. Are there any of those items which you would regard, possibly from your own experience, as critical (as opposed to desirable) ?

atticusclaw2 Tue 10-Nov-15 17:07:24

We've used the carpet, tow rope, torches and spades more than anything else. The carpet is really useful (and is flat so takes up no space at all in the car boot).

hebihebi Tue 10-Nov-15 17:21:50

Thanks! I don't drive anywhere exciting just taking the kids to school/nursery, going to the local supermarket, work, clubs etc. I'm fine on the main road but to get to our house there is a very long, steep hill. When the snow plough comes it just drives up the middle of the road as it is quite narrow and the houses are built on platforms so there is nowhere for the snow to go. It just banks up at the side. It gets quite slippery driving down and coming up can be quite nerve wracking if you meet something coming the other way. I'm usually a confident driver but the snow makes me nervous. Last time I got stuck I didn't even have a coat in the car.

If you get stuck do you just dig the snow away from the tyres and sprinkle sand/kitty litter around?

I must get a phone charger that charges off the car battery just in case I need to call for help. The kids are always running the battery down playing games.

cozietoesie Tue 10-Nov-15 20:50:37

I liked atticus's notion of the carpet left lying in the boot. You could use old offcuts just slipped as far under the tyre(s) as you could get them and the temperatures (including in the boot) would be such that you could take them out of the boot when you got home and they would drip in a shed or garage etc. (If they got snow or mud on them - and you could also carry a sheet of polythene to place them on in the boot once used.)

Stratter5 Tue 10-Nov-15 23:24:02

Similar to atticus here, old habits die hard and I learnt to drive in the snow. The sleeping bags are a really good idea, those foil blankets are useless tbh. I have a foot pump in mine too, and I keep it all in a flucket, because, well they're useful too.

Stratter5 Tue 10-Nov-15 23:24:52

Oh and best shovel I've found is a plastic mucking out one - you'll find them at feed stores and tack shops.

PigletJohn Wed 11-Nov-15 12:27:30

my nice car has ridiculously wide tyres.

On the owners website, someone asked for advice on winter driving. He was told to use the two safest gears during winter.

P and N.

TheGreenNinja Wed 11-Nov-15 12:37:11

Really helpful kit list atticus, we're going to be rural (and uphill!) for the first winter this year so we need to be prepared. What about some of those click/heat handwarmers in the box as well?

cozietoesie Wed 11-Nov-15 13:03:44

I've bought a few of those - the reusable versions - for the youngsters. I like them. grin

lighteningirl Wed 11-Nov-15 13:46:03

Love that list Atticus I bought a box in Ikea for my winter car kit will be updating it now. We carry a bug in bag if we go more than 50 miles but hats gloves scarves are good we also have some newspapers folded flat under one of the mats as those are great insulation and take up very little space.

atticusclaw2 Wed 11-Nov-15 20:23:29

Just added the click heat hand warmers to my amazon basket!

NeededANameChangeAnyway Mon 23-Nov-15 18:53:01

Great list Atticus I'll be adding a few if your suggestions to our snow kit.

DPotter Mon 23-Nov-15 19:01:26

Its not just having all the prep kit, its also being able to drive in slippery conditions. we live in a rural area with a high proportion of 4WD but very few drivers these vehicles seem to know how to drive them. I can usually get through most stuff the weather can thru at me in my ford cmax, so I was taught how to drive in the snow. The thing that usually stops me is a 4WD stuck in the middle of the road by someone driving in 1st geat - grrrr.

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