Driving in severe winter weather poses many challenges. Cars can get stuck in snowy conditions even on familiar roads, forcing the driver and passengers to spend the night on the roadside. If possible, considering buying winter tyres, which are designed to grip the road better in icy, wet and snowy conditions. If this is not an option, ensure your standard tyres are inflated correctly and that you have a minimum of 3 mm of tread on your tyres to cope with wet and slippery conditions. In winter, the battery will run down quicker than in warmer weather. Make sure you do a regular long journey to top it up or trickle-charge the battery. The following items will be useful should you find yourself in an emergency situation during the winter months. Cat litter or sand, snow shovel or spade, ice scraper, warm clothes and footwear, snacks and water, torch, mobile phone, blanket or sleeping bag, jump leads, high visibility jacket, first aid kit. Modern engines are more robust than older ones. All the same, depress the clutch when starting as this will reduce drag on the engine when starting, and preserve the battery. Keep the screen wash topped up and use a proper additive at the right concentration to prevent it freezing. Keep your fuel tank topped up – that way if you are caught out, you’ll have enough fuel to make it home or run the engine to keep warm. Clear all snow and ice from the windscreen and the roof of the car before driving off. Do not use water to de-ice windscreens. Hot water can crack the glass, and the water will only freeze again on the screen or on the ground where you are standing. A squirt of WD-40 will prevent your door locks freezing up. If they do, heat your key with a lighter to melt the ice. Your car may be warm on the inside but if you have to step outside, you could be in trouble if you have not got any warm clothing with you. Always pack the following: warm coat, hat, gloves, sturdy boots, a blanket to keep you warm if you get stuck. Take some food, chocolate, biscuits, water and a hot drink if you can. Always carry a fully charged mobile, and some old bits of carpet, or cat litter, to put under the tyres when stuck and a shovel to clear snow.