Be Prepared! Have These Essentials Ready in Your Car to Save Time and Hassle
Whether you’re only using your car to drive round town, or heading out into the wilderness for off-road adventures, it’s always best to be prepared in case something unexpectedly goes wrong.
Let’s have a look at some essentials to keep in your trunk at all times, ranging from almost zero-cost to more high-tech gadgets for the driver who wants to be prepared for every eventuality.
1. First aid supplies
In case of minor accidents in or near your car, a well-stocked first aid kit will ensure that you’re able to assist the injured party, quickly and easily until you’re able to obtain more help.
Your kit needs to contain, at a minimum, plenty of bandages, tweezers, scissors, surgical tape, some wound disinfectant and an antibiotic cream.
For longer journeys and camping trips, also make sure you have cooling pads to treat burns. If you’re heading on a trip across the desert, keep some rehydration salts in the kit. If you drive in a zone where severe winter weather is a possibility, pack a reflective blanket for each passenger to help retain body heat in case of a breakdown.
This may all sound a little over-cautious, but bear in mind that once you have this kit in your car, you can forget about it until the need arises. At that point you’ll be grateful that you had the foresight to prepare.
2. Spare parts to keep you moving
The most essential of these is a spare tire, as there’s no knowing when or where you can get a flat. If your car doesn’t have a spare supplied as standard, invest in one so you’ll always be able to get home, without the need to call out a mechanic. You’ll potentially save yourself hours of wasted time, hassle and expense.
A portable air compressor is also a useful piece of kit to have handy, as if you have a slow puncture this will reflate your tires and enable you to get home or to a workshop. If you can locate the source of the leak, a can of sealant will also help until the tire can be changed.
Other useful spares to carry with you include windshield wiper blades, and spare radiator cap, and extra fuses.
Have you ever had a flat battery and flagged down a passing motorist, who kindly offers help – only to find that neither party is carrying jump leads? While a ‘jump-start’ will often work, you could find yourself in a location doesn’t allow the car to be pushed or rolled enough to allow the connections to spring back into life. So at the very minimum, you should have a set of jump leads in your trunk.
Unless you know your battery is almost at the end of its life, carrying a replacement battery with you isn’t usually needed. But if you are unsure about whether your battery is still able to get you where you want to be, it’s something to consider. For hybrids or electric vehicles, lithium batteries are required, while for petrol or diesel vehicles standard SLI or Lead-Acid batteries are the most common choice.
4. Essential tools
There’s no point in carrying a spare tire unless you have a jack to raise the car off the ground. Most vehicles are supplied with one, but it’s wise to invest in something stronger and more durable. A sturdy lug wrench will also be useful for loosening and tightening wheel nuts easily and safely.
5. Flash light
When things go wrong, it’s often at the most convenient time. If you have a breakdown at night, a powerful headlight torch can help you to see what’s needed and allow you to do whatever is needed with your hands free. Rather than go for a specialist electrician’s lamp which provides a strong narrow beam to illuminate a work area, opt for a general purpose model which can also be used to help you move around in the dark.
6. Dash cam
Dashcams have rocketed in popularity over recent years as they can record a journey in its entirety. In case of an accident, there’s clear evidence of exactly what happened, before during and after, as well as information about the surrounding area. While they’re still quite an expensive piece of kit, they can help to cut down any arguments about how a collision occurred and potentially save considerable sums in legal fees and increased insurance premiums.
7. A change of clothes
Let’s imagine you’re driving to a wedding, or a job interview. Naturally, you’re wearing your best outfit. You suddenly hit something, and need to stop and inspect the underside of your vehicle. Or you need to lift the hood and check what’s going on with the engine. Even in urban areas, your clothes are likely to get soiled by dust and debris, if not covered in oil. So it makes sense to carry some items to put on and protect your garments. Maybe a long-sleeved shirt, an old jacket, and a pair of ancient sweat pants to put on and protect your knees.
A few pairs of industrial rubber gloves will keep your hands dry and clean, but if they do get dirty, some heavy duty hand cleaner will help you look presentable again.
8. Trunk organizer
At this point you may be thinking that if you pack everything we’ve listed, there won’t be room in your trunk for anything else – and you need the space to shopping, travel bags, sports equipment and so on.
You wouldn’t dream of just throwing things into a cupboard without making an effort to organize them so they’ll be easy to locate when you want to use them. So why do we so often just throw things into our trunk and waste time hunting for things?
For less than $40, this last suggestion will save you lots of time and hassle. Invest in a trunk storage organizer so that you’ll not only be able to get your hands on any item you need, without wasting time hunting for it, and you’ll also minimize the space that your ‘essentials’ take up.