A sensible driver is always fully prepared, not only by making sure that they have road tax and insurance, but that they know how to handle any emergencies while driving too. A problem could occur at any time, anywhere, so it is vital that you have the correct emergency equipment handy.
As well as having all the necessary items to change a flat tyre, there are a few other items that you should always have on hand in your car. Here, we have put together a round up of what you need to stay safe and prepared at all times on car journeys.
Have breakdown cover and good insurance
Breakdown cover is essential – it means that no matter where you are, if you need help in an emergency, there is a team of people who can come to your aid and get you back on the road.
The insurance you choose can also help. Telematics insurance companies, for example, can see if you have been in an accident, if the impact is over a certain force and have a black box installed, and will attempt to contact you to check you are okay.
Breaking down in your car can be a pain. However, if you have the correct equipment and take certain precautions, you can reduce any stress while you wait for the breakdown service to arrive.
Mobile phone – This is an essential piece of kit to have when you are stuck and in need of help. Make sure your battery is fully charged or keep it topped up with an in-car charger before heading out.
Spare tyre and Jack – Many breakdowns are caused by flat tyres. If you know how to change a tyre, then having a spare road legal tyre, a jack and the correct tools to get wheel nuts off is crucial. For others who aren’t so sure, your breakdown cover provider can send someone out to you.
Empty fuel container – Another common cause for breakdowns is simply down to running out of fuel. Having a fuel carrier in your car allows you to walk to the nearest petrol station to fill up – without having to call out your breakdown service – this should only be done if safe to do so.
High-vis vest, torch and warning triangle – If you break down on a busy road it can be difficult for other drivers to see you, putting you in great danger. That’s why, it’s a good idea to put your hazard lights on and place a warning sign, 45 meters behind your car. However, only do this if it is safe – you should never put a triangle on a motorway, as it is simply too dangerous.
Jump leads – Jump leads can start your car if you have a flat battery. Investing in a set of jump leads can help you get straight back on the road if you can find a friendly motorist to charge your battery. However, jump starting a car isn’t always straightforward so if you are unsure, call your breakdown provider or a relative with experience of using them.
Screen wash, deicer and a scraper
Your windscreen can quickly get dirty and without a regular spray of screen wash, your vision can become limited – especially during the winter. Make sure you keep a bottle of this in your car at all times, in case you run out.
You should have a fully stocked and ready to use first aid kit in your car. Having one on you at all times is useful when you are not in the safety of your home, and can even be used on day trips. You can find first aid kits for your car already packaged and containing everything you need, but it will cost you less to make one yourself.
Always keep snacks and bottles of water in your car too just in case you get stranded anywhere or have a lengthy wait for some help. When putting your first aid kit together, here is a quick round-up of what to include:
Safety pins for closing bandages
Antiseptic wipes or cream
Antihistamine for allergic reactions
Aspirin, ibuprofen, or other pain relief
Aloe vera to treat mild burns
Insect bite relief pads
Your car should now be emergency ready for your next trip, should you end up in a sticky situation. Keep these tips in mind and ensure you’re covered if you ever break down on the road.