Whatever you use your car for, be it short trips to the shop, long-distance sales trips or staycation holidays, there are some simple things that you should keep in your car for safety, for convenience, and for basic maintenance.
Here are our top recommendations for the absolute essentials that everyone should have in their car.
First aid kit
It’s an easy one to overlook, but keeping a basic first aid kit in your car is crucial. Whether it’s there to help you tackle a nose bleed or a headache, or you are unlucky enough to be in an accident – the kit can help you deal with a range of emergencies, illnesses, and injuries.
Be sure to keep it stocked up and that any perishables are replaced as they go out of date (aspirin, disinfectant, etc.). If you or your passengers need any particular medications or have asthma or allergies, make sure that your first aid kit for vehicles has backup supplies of medicines, inhalers, and antihistamine/epinephrine as required.
Food and water
Anyone who has ever been trapped in a traffic jam or had to wait while an accident has been cleared from the road will know the importance of keeping some food and water in the car. We’re not talking about packing a lunch every time you take a trip – just keep a bottle of water and some biscuits or a protein bar close at hand so that hunger and thirst don’t become real issues.
If you are stuck in a traffic jam or your car breaks down in the winter or at night, you need a blanket. You can’t sit for hours on end with your engine running, and the temperature inside your car will soon drop if the heater is not on – a blanket can help you stave off the cold, which is particularly bad cases could result in hypothermia.
Check to see if your car has a manufacturer-provided jack and a spare tyre in the boot space. If not, you must source these yourself – a short chassis hydraulic trolley jack is usually suited for most private cars and doesn’t take up too much space in your boot. Make sure you get a jack that can be used with your specific vehicle, though – think about the weight capacity and the profile of your car. SUV-type vehicles will need a greater load capacity and higher lift range than a hatchback for example and lowered or sporty models will need a low-profile jack that can fit under the vehicle.
At one point or another, most drivers have struggled to start their cars. Keep some jumper cables in your boot to make sure you can easily get a jump when you need one – or provide one to your fellow drivers if necessary.
Torch with batteries
It’s all very well having jumper cables and a jack, but if you break down in the dark, they will be relatively useless without external lighting. Carry a decent torch in your vehicle to ensure that you can still perform basic repairs whatever the time of day or night.