It doesn’t matter if you mainly use your vehicle to zip around the city or if you take it out for long journeys. Either way, there are several, handy, low cost items that can be kept in your glove compartment or storage space that will assist you in the event of most road situations.
Prices for first aid kits can start at $30 and they usually contain the essentials, such as bandages, plasters, pain relief and simple emergency instructions. A good item to add to this is an emergency survival blanket. It’s cheap and is particularly useful during winter as it reflects 90% of your body heat to help keep you warm, windproof and waterproof.
Another good idea is keeping a fluorescent vest or jacket in the car. Some new cars include them anyway. In an emergency situation, the instinctive reaction for many is to jump out of their vehicle and help wherever possible, without considering their own safety first. At night, or in adverse weather conditions, you need to have every chance of being seen by other motorists in order to stay safe and prevent a tragedy from happening to yourself and other road users.
Most people with a smart phone will travel with a cable and USB charger to keep their phone alive, and some phones come with a torch function that can prove handy at night. There are now portable lithium ion battery packs that you can keep in your car to charge devices, which usually have a bright LED light. Some larger packs can even act as a vehicle jump-start pack so, from one item, you get three uses making it a pretty handy piece of equipment to have on hand.
A small, good quality multi-tool is also quite useful to have in your vehicle. This means you have a screw driver, file, pliers, scissors and knife to hand, which enables you to carry out minor tasks. You could even go one step further by buying a small tool kit.
If you want to be prepared for escaping emergency situations, we would suggest investing in a LifeHammer, glass breaker and seatbelt cutter tool which can cost as little as $7. It’s worth making sure this equipment is easily accessible in the front cabin so that both the driver and front passenger can get to it in the event of a crash. Seatbelts are durable and aren’t designed to be cut easily with scissors, and windows are designed to withstand relatively strong impacts. The function of a hammer, glass breaker and cutter is to help passengers exit a vehicle quickly and effortlessly, post-collision.
For those who like to really be prepared for any given situation, carrying a small fire extinguisher in your car can be useful. We’d suggest stowing it under the passenger or driver’s seat, in the glove box, so that it’s easily accessible for the driver in emergency situations. Also, bear in mind that they expire, therefore they need to be regularly checked and recertified. While we hope it’ll be one of those items you’ll never have to use, but it could prove to be crucial if it’s actually needed.
Some of the more basic and everyday items you should keep in your car are water and an umbrella or a light jacket. Having a jacket or umbrella, will keep your prepared for any weather. We would always recommend carrying some bottled water as it has many multipurpose uses, from diluting spills to providing extremely valuable hydration. Wet wipes are also excellent for cleaning and sanitising as well.
The truth is, you never know when you – or someone else – is going to need a little help on the roadside and these particular items aren’t going to leave a large dent in your wallet but they may just make life a lot easier if you find yourself caught off-guard. Naturally vehicle size, storage and capability can limit what we are able to pack in to our cars, but even a few of the smaller essentials can really make a difference in those tricky situations on the road.