Everyone usually remembers to check their fuel and tyre levels before setting off on a long journey. However, it is also worth trying to keep a few basic items in your car at all times, just in case you run into the unexpected or end up stranded at the side of the road.
Here are our top three must-haves you might want to consider putting/stashing in your glove compartment or boot whenever you leave home.
1. Breakdown kit
Of course, no one ever plans to break down, but these things happen, so it pays to be prepared. Motoring organisations recommend having a bag of handy equipment in the back, which could help keep you safe while help arrives.
As a minimum consider packing a high-visibility jacket, torch and warning triangle to alert other road users that you have run into trouble. Remember, do not attempt any roadside repairs in a dangerous position as it is very difficult for traffic to see and avoid you.
If you have some basic mechanical skills then you might also want to add some booster cables and a mini tyre inflator kit, so you could at least make it off the highway and to the nearest garage.
Other additions to your breakdown kit could include spare bulbs, fuses and a bottle of de-icer – and details of your road assistance membership, as well as your car insurance documents.
2. First-aid kit
A first-aid kit is a vital item to have stowed in your glove compartment, especially if you or another road user is involved in an accident. Even a simple kit will provide plasters and bandages that could help to control bleeding until the emergency services are on the scene.
It may also be worth adding to your first-aid kit with a few extras, including an unopened bottle of water and some non-perishable food items – just in case you are waiting for a long time in your vehicle.
During the colder months, consider popping a blanket or an extra coat in the boot as you may find the temperatures drop considerably if the in-car heating is no longer working.
Remember, there are lots of affordable courses available that provide valuable information about basic emergency first-aid – as well as looking good on your CV, they could also help you in an unexpected situation.
3. Mobile phone
Ok, so you never really leave home without it, but it is really important to make sure you can get in contact with help if you need to. Ensure your phone is charged and consider investing in an in-car charger or an emergency powerbank so you have enough juice to make any vital calls.
As well as being a way to get in touch with people, your phone can also help as a sat-nav if you get lost or provide up-to-date traffic information to help you avoid potential congestion.
However, make sure you are not distracted by tech while driving and invest in a Bluetooth headset, as well as a device mount – otherwise you could find yourself needing your breakdown and first-aid kits sooner rather than later.