A few months ago, we asked our customers which items they do carry in their car at all times. And all participants made sensible choices when it comes to items, tools and safety equipment. We take a closer look at which essential items you should carry with you in your car.
Legally required items
If you are stopped by the police, this is the paperwork, they will ask you to show:
- Driving license
- MOT certificate
- Insurance certificate.
You don’t need to have them with you but you will have to take them to your local police as proof within 7 days. If you fail to do this, there is a hefty fine waiting for you.
Safety equipment to keep in your car
There are a number of items, that are key for your safety, should your car break down. Even though they are no legal requirement for UK drivers, they are in some EU countries. Drivers should check which items are mandatory when planning a road trip on the continent. It is also worth checking rental cars for these.
They are not the most fashionable item to wear, but they can save lives. These bright and reflecting orange or yellow vests ensure you are seen early when you are waiting for a recovery vehicle. or while you are putting up your warning triangle.
The purpose of the warning triangle is to alert other drivers of obstruction ahead. It is recommended to place it at least 147 feet or 45 metres away from your vehicle. This distance is about the way a car travels when it slows down from 50mph to a full stop.
Make sure you are wearing your high-visibility vest when you are placing or retrieving the warning device.
Never use them on motorways!
First Aid Kit
Having a first aid kit in your car can save lives. The key purpose of carrying a stocked first aid kit is not to help you but to provide fast assistance in any case of emergency. You might be the first responder to an accident and will need to provide emergency treatment until medical services arrive. Knowing that there is this small box with all things needed sitting in your glove box or boot, provides peace of mind for drivers.
Items that belong in a first aid kit:
- Sterile cleansing wipes and/or saline solution for wound cleansing
- Adherent dressing or sterile gauze
- Burn dressing
- Trauma dressing
- Sterile dressing in various large sizes
- Regular plasters
- Disposable gloves
- Adhesive tape
- Triangular bandage
- Bandages in several sizes
- Tweezers and scissors
- Resuscitation device
- Foil blanket
- Hand Sanitiser
Some items in your first aid kit have an expiry date, so it is worth checking it regularly and replace any items that are out of date.
In 2018/19 over 10000 vehicle fires have been reported. Vehicle fires start small and are usually caused by faulty electricals. Therefore, a car fire extinguisher comes in handy to act fast, contain the fire or keep it away from the fuel tank, lowering the risk of explosions and more serious damage to your car.
Maintenance and repair essentials to keep in your car
Spare tyres are designed to bring you home or the next garage. Some cars, however, are now sold without one, so check again before you go on a long drive.
Car or Tyre Jack
Keeping a spare tyre without a car jack does not make much sense. Best keep both items together in case you will need to change your tyre.
In some European countries, drivers are legally required to carry spare bulbs in their car to be able to replace a blown one straight away. Driving without a fully working set of lights is putting you and other drivers in danger.
Imagine you plan on going home from work and suddenly have to find out your battery is flat. Jump leads can help you get your car started with the help of another driver so you can at least get to back home or the nearest garage to the battery checked.
Basic tool kit (hammer, pliers, screwdrivers, various sockets, wrenches)
Keeping a basic toolkit allows you to do small repairs by yourself instead of waiting for a mechanic to arrive and to spend 2 minutes to fix your car
Empty fuel can
This is for the unlikely event that you’ll run out of fuel faster than the fuel gauge on your dashboard tells you. In these cases, grab your fuel can, get a lift to the next gas station and fill it up.
This is an unusual one, but duct tape allows for quick and temporary fixes like a broken side window, or a boot that won’t close. While this sounds easy, avoid driving around with these quick fixes, especially if you think your car is unsafe to drive and seek a mechanic as fast as possible. Driving around with a car kept together using tape will impact your insurance.
Other useful items to keep in your car
Think about breaking down in the dark, and having to find out what is going on under the bonnet. Of course, you will be in dire need of some source of lighting in this situation and keeping a torch (wind up is fine) in your car comes in extremely handy then.
Blanket and/or warm jacket
Being stranded in cold, wet or windy weather is not a nice thought. Keep a woolly blanket or thick jacket to throw over and keep you warm while you wait for your recovery vehicle to arrive.
Water and Snacks
No one likes being stuck in traffic, so plan ahead and keep some water and non-perishable snacks ready, for days when your journey takes longer than anticipated and you’ll need to hydrate and keep up those energy levels.