Every time we take to the road there’s a risk of trouble along the way. It could be as simple as a flat tyre, or a mechanical meltdown, perhaps adverse weather, or at worst we could be involved in a crash. Whatever it is we should be prepared for it.
Here are the top 14 things we should carrying our car to handle unexpected eventualities.
- First aid kit
A first aid gives us the capacity to render basic medical assistance, such as treating cuts, scratches, bumps and bruises.
A torch can help us see what we’re facing when we breakdown at night, it can help us to see to make repairs, fit a spare wheel, or do whatever is needed to get going again. Most mobiles have a torch built in these days, but a dedicated torch is still a good idea.
- Umbrella / Raincoat
Keeping dry and warm is important and an umbrella or raincoat will help us to stay dry when it’s raining. It’s particularly important when we might have to wait for some considerable time for help to arrive.
- Picnic blanket
Being stranded on the side of the road with a broken down car on a chilly day or night is no fun, but a picnic blanket can help us to keep warm while we await assistance.
- Mobile phone
The mobile phone is one of the most important safety items we can have in an emergency. It allows us to call for help whenever we need it, no matter where we are, but to be of any use it needs to be charged. You should keep a phone charger on board at all times, along with the obligatory phone cradle to permit safe and legal usage while on the move.
- Maps / Directions
With a map or directory we can locate exactly where we are when directing people like the roadside assistance to us. With the maps function on our mobile phone we can precisely pinpoint our location, which can be of great help to those coming to our aid.
- Roadside assistance
Few of us have the ability to carry out roadside repairs on today’s cars with their sophisticated technology, so having roadside assistance to come to our aid is important. Without it we could be stranded on the side of the road for hours trying to get help. Always carry your roadside assistance membership card with you so you have the contact phone numbers you need to call when trouble strikes.
- Road-ready spare tyre
A flat spare tyre is of no use to anyone, let alone you when you have a flat tyre on the side of the road. The spare should be roadworthy with at least the minimum tread depth, and the inflation pressure should be checked regularly so it can be used whenever it’s needed.
- Portable inflation device
Some cars today don't carry spare wheels at all; instead some have an inflation kit that can be used to re-inflate a flat tyre to get you out of trouble. Make sure it’s in the boot when you leave home, and read the instructions on how to use it so you know what to do when you have to use it.
- Jack / Wheel brace
It’s also important to have the jack and wheel brace you’ll need to remove the flat tyre and mount the spare. Make sure they are in the boot and you’re familiar with using them.
- Reflective safety triangle
A reflective triangle can be used to warn other drivers of your broken down car at night. By placing it on the edge of the road a few metres behind your car other drivers can be alerted to your predicament.
- Pen and paper
When we’re involved in a crash we’re required by law to exchange names and addresses with the other parties involved. It’s at those times we fumble around looking for a pen and paper to record those details, so having those things in the glovebox makes it much easier at what can be a very stressful time.
- Owner's manual
The owner’s manual should always be kept in the glovebox. It tells you where the spare wheel is located and how fit it, it also has information on fuses and where they’re located, how to jump start an engine, and a myriad of other important things you should know about your car.
- Spares / Tools
If you’re driving an older car and have some automotive knowledge you might consider carrying some basic things that might help you in a time of trouble. Things like an emergency fuel can and funnel, jumper cables, tow rope, oil, coolant, and fuses can be handy, so too can basic tools such as pliers, screwdrivers, adjustable spanners etc.