Peeking out of your curtains on a crisp and frosty morning to find your car iced up is one of the perils of winter.
With the cold weather having set in good and proper (we've all noticed!), many of us are already counting down the days to spring. So, we thought it might be useful to kit your car out ready for the mayhem that comes with travelling in the snow and ice.
It's easy to forget how bad the weather can get until it happens again, so it's a good idea to get yourself ready now so you can avoid any hairy moments on the road and instead smugly drive past those stuck in the snow. We've put together a list of some winter driving essentials at the best prices we could find them.
These winter driving offers were found on 10/01/14, but prices may have been changed or items been removed by the retailer since then. Prices may or may not include VAT and postage and packaging.
Kit out for winter
If you don’t know where to start with protecting your car against the elements, get your hands on a winter car kit. You can pick one up for a few pounds and it might be the difference between getting home safely and being stranded by the side of the road.
My Tool Shed offer this kit which includes a hi vis vest, hat and gloves, snow shovel and torch for £19.99 - a saving of £16 from list price.
For the same price you can pick up this kit from the AA, which includes a folding snow shovel, hi vis vest, foil blanket, LED torch and a carry bag - and it's free postage and packaging too.
Or if you want to splash out a little bit more, for £28.99 you'll also get snow and ice grips, jump leads and a pack of ponchos - well you don’t want to get wet if the worst does happen and you get stuck in the snow!
If you don’t want to spend that much but would like some basic winter protection, euro car parts are selling this Carplan Winter Essentials Gift Pack for £5.99, down from £8.39. It comes with a de-icer, ice scraper and screen wash.
If you'd rather put together your own winter driving essentials, the bit of kit you'll probably use most is an ice scraper.
Sports Direct have a deal on theirs at the moment. With 80% off, it’s down to a quid from £4.99 - and it's got a soft grip handle. That'll do icely!
If you want a more highbrow ice scraper (that's right - they exist), then you could invest in a heated one. I know, posh right? The cheapest we could find was on Amazon at £2.84 - being sold from tooltime uk ltd.
Scraping ice isn't the most fun way to spend time when you're rushing to get to work, so de-icer is an essential for the lazy winter motorist - just spray it and wait.
You can buy de-icer at most supermarkets, garages and car shops. The cheapest we could find was 60p a can at Screw Fix.
Oh and if you do find yourself caught without de-icer or a proper scraper, you could always join almost one in five people who admit to having used their bank card to get rid of ice from their car. thinkmoney research* found 19% of people have done this in the past.
It's not just ice that causes problems when you haven't got the right tools to hand. If the thought of digging your car out of the snow using anything you can get your hands on brings back vivid memories from last winter, invest in a snow shovel. It beats trying to use your hands or feet to dig it out.
Save £9 on this snow shovel from Screw Fix, down from £19.99 to £10.99 - and it's telescopic so takes up less room in the boot too!
Anti-freeze for the big freeze
If you haven't already, it's important to top up with anti-freeze. It'll stop your engine overheating if the water that normally does that job is frozen. Different cars take different anti-freeze, so to find out which one is suitable, have a look using the Halfords registration checker.
The best deals we could find on anti-freeze were at euro car parts. Take a look at this one litre bottle, for example, at £2.29, down from £2.75.
Car snow socks
Most of you probably got socks this Christmas no matter how old you are - it's pretty much guaranteed. So why not treat your car to some snow socks this year too? Fit & Go Snow Socks provide grip, which means you can still drive through the snow without the wheels sliding around.
The RAC are selling them for 30% off at £34.96 for two, down from £49.95. You can fit them easily over your tyres in minutes and they come with gloves too, so you don’t have to get dirty and cold hands. Make sure you check the size of your tyres beforehand though.
Tips and tricks
So that's some essentials for the car; now it's a good idea to kit yourself out with the right knowledge on driving in winter. Should you be in a high gear or low gear when driving in the snow? These are the sorts of questions you don’t want to be asking when you're careering down a hill on ice.
Well the AA and Kwik Fit are here to help. They have put together a useful list of driving tips for the winter. Kwik Fit are also offering a free winter car check to ensure your car is set up for the winter months. To book yourself in, get in touch with your local branch which you can find here.
And remember, if driving around in adverse conditions is giving you a chill and you really don’t want to drive in the snow this year, there's always a more fun way of getting around!
Tesco have sledges on sale for £7.49, down from a tenner. A fun way to arrive at the office this winter!
On a more serious note, we hope these deals and tips help make travelling a little bit safer for you this winter. Make sure you take the necessary precautions and, as always, drive safe!
*Consumer Intelligence questioned a nationally representative sample of 2,940 adults aged 18 and over between 9th and 16h October 2013.