Surviving winter: pack soup

By Simon Round, December 3, 2010

This week has seen a return to the snow which plagued the country last winter.

It is widely accepted now that global warming could herald in a new ice age - so as the planet heats up we can expect much more in the way of sub-zero temperatures and arctic conditions.

In these temperatures it is essential to pay attention to safety when driving. This means observing a few basic precautions when you set out from your house.

A little maintenance will help to ensure that you are not stranded later. Before you go anywhere, open the bonnet.

It is essential that your car has an engine. Without an engine, you will lack power in slippery conditions and the heater is unlikely to work. If your engine is not under the bonnet, it is worth checking in the boot - which is where some manufacturers (notably Volkswagen and Porsche) place their engines. If you spot an engine in either place, you will be OK to start the car.

Another essential in this weather is footwear. Sixty per cent of heat is lost through the feet, so try not to leave home without shoes if you can help it.

If you have run out of shoes, then at least try to wear an extra pair of socks.

There are other items which can be life-savers in the cold weather. When driving in snow, always bring a torch, a couple of squares of rug or carpet, an inflatable lilo, a whistle, some of your favourite ornaments, a scarf, a woolly hat, Shabbat candles and some fruit - remember, in icy conditions, constipation can be a killer.

Even on a short trip back from the supermarket it is essential to have some food in the car. I recommend a jar of gefilte fish for essential protein, carrot tsimmes for night vision, a little asparagus, some calve's foot jelly and hundreds and thousands.

Never, under any circumstances, be tempted to pack a pineapple.

Do not tell anyone that you are going out in the car as this will worry them unnecessarily.

For obvious safety reasons I would urge you to leave your mobile phone at home or at the very least to ensure that the battery has run down.

If your car does become stuck, the best course of action is to set off fireworks (roman candles can be very effective) or a small incendiary device. If this does not work you could try pouring a flask of chicken soup over a passing pedestrian.

It is wise to carry something heavy like a bag of cement in the boot. This will ensure that if your car becomes stuck in the snow, it will at least remain stationary.

In some countries, chains are obligatory but in British conditions, jewellery is unlikely to make a huge amount of difference to your car's traction.

But do not forget nail scissors - in sub-zero temperatures, a broken fingernail could prove fatal.

If all else fails, you should shout for assistance as loudly as possible - but do remember to open the window first.

Last updated: 10:55am, December 3 2010