Eight essentials to keep in your car
Whether it’s winter or summer, there are some things you’ll need in your vehicle all year around to help you stay safe on the road.
That’s according to the Institute Of Advanced Motorists which has drawn up a list of eight essential items.
It’s always worth keeping an ice-scraper and can of de-icer in your vehicle as the weather is so unpredictable, and can be sunny one day and frosty the next. Carry an empty fuel can too, but not a full or partially full one as this is a fire hazard. You never know when you’ll need a First Aid Kit either, so keeping one in the boot is always handy for either yourself, or another road user if you’re first on scene at an accident. If you’ve broken down at the side of the road, the last thing you want is to be cold and unable to see in the dark. That’s why drivers should always keep a torch and a set of batteries in their vehicle, along with warm clothes, a blanket and a high visibility jacket. Don’t forget food and drink to stop your energy levels from dropping as well – bottled water is a must. A car battery can go flat at any time, whether you’re popping to your local fish and chip shop or picking your car up from the airport after a wonderful sunny holiday. So make sure you keep a set of jump leads in your vehicle. Keep a spare pair of sturdy shoes with a good grip. You might need them to turn the wheel brace when changing a tyre or to push your car if you’ve broken down, or even just to change shoes if there’s a sudden weather change. An item that’s often overlooked is the reflective warning triangle. This gives you extra security for a number of reasons such as breaking down in the dark. Follow the Highway Code rule which advises to “put a warning triangle on the road at least 45 metres (147 feet) behind your broken-down vehicle on the same side of the road, or use other permitted warning devices if you have them. Always take great care when placing or retrieving them, but never use them on motorways.” Many people use a satnav to travel to unfamiliar places, but what if your battery dies and you can’t find the charger? Or if it takes you the wrong way? The best thing to do is refer back to your trusty road atlas, so don’t forget to buy an up-to-date copy every year and keep it in your car. A good rule of thumb is to take a look at your map before you set off to get an idea of the direction you need to travel in. Find yourself a place to aim for or motorway signs to look out for. Last but not least, mobile phones. Switch it to silent and place it in the glove box to avoid any temptation to touch it. It will be there ready to use when and if you need it.
“A journey can be a pleasant experience with the right planning, but it can turn into a nightmare if circumstances change and you do not have the right tools for the job with you,” Richard Gladman, IAM RoadSmart’s Head of Driving & Riding Standards.”