It’s all too easy to just jump in the car and drive off without giving a thought to what you would do if things go wrong.
Many drivers could be forgiven for thinking all they need is a phone to call for help. But circumstances could mean that help can’t get to you – you might be stuck in a snowstorm, for example – or at least not without a long wait.
Here are the 10 things smarter drivers keep in their cars just in case they get unlucky while on the road:
- Phone charger and spare mobile – While a mobile phone isn’t the answer to all car disasters, it’s certainly one of them. Some of the newest cars come with charging points built-in; while for older card chargers can be bought which plug into cigarette lighters or even direct to the fuse box.
- Emergency contact details – That phone might not be much use if your usual garage is hundreds of miles away and you need to get your car fixed quickly. Take the details of breakdown services and emergency help with you (usually provided by insurers in the form of a plastic card), whether you have full breakdown cover or not.
- Waterproof clothing and blankets – If you get stuck while driving in a wilder part of the country, having warm, waterproof clothing with you is absolutely vital.
- Water – Whether it’s to rehydrate yourself or other people in the vehicle, or to top up the radiator, fresh, sealed water is another vital addition to your car safety kit.
- Warning triangle – If you’ve broken down in the dark on a corner and you’re going to stop other drivers ploughing into the rear of your car, the hazard triangle is hugely important.
- Spare tyre, jack, wheel nut and wrench – You should always have a spare tyre and the tools in the car which allow you to change a faulty wheel. Even if you don’t know how to do it, a quick Google on your phone will show you, or ask another driver, if possible.
- Jump leads – A flat battery is one of the most common causes of car breakdown, or non-starting. Most other drivers are willing to offer their own car to help, and even if you don’t know how to use the leads, someone else will.
- Torch – As with the warning triangle, a torch could be useful for fairly obvious reasons.
- Spare boots/wellies/strong shoes – Not many people keep extra footwear in their cars. However, without sensible shoes, you might not be able to do the things you need to free yourself if your car is stuck in mud, snow or water.
- First aid kit – The basics might come in handy for minor injuries and irritations to eyes and hands that could occur while driving.
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Published 16 April 2019