The Mercedes-Benz A-Class: What can we say other than what a truly amazing piece of automotive engineering.
Everyone has their own must have items that they keep nearby, in a pocket, bag or even your car, whether it’s a lip balm, emergency cash or a spanner but we think there are some items that are essential for all of us to have in the car. These items are useful if you’re caught in an unexpected situation or involved in an accident.
We’ve put together a list of ten such items that you should put in the boot of your car if they’re not there already.
1. First Aid Kit
One of the most useful things to keep in your vehicle is a first aid kit.
This does not need to be a full-blown kit prepared for every eventuality but should include the essential such as:
- Plasters and bandages
- Antiseptic wipes
- Pain killers
You can buy a prepared first aid kit or create one yourself from your household first aid supplies, and no matter which you choose to do you can customise it for your own needs. For example, if you suffer from asthma you might want to add a spare inhaler.
Some medicines and medical supplies will have an expiry date on them and so we recommend checking your first aid kit once a year, or more frequently, to ensure that yours are still in date.
2. Warning Triangle
Another essential item is a warning triangle. In some countries, it’s actually a legal requirement to have one in your vehicle, which shows just how important it is.
A warning triangle is used when you breakdown or have an accident and your vehicle is blocking the road and so a hazard to other drivers. Where you are able to you should exit the vehicle and place the triangle at least 45 metres from your vehicle to warn other road users of your car and prevent further incidents.
3. High-Vis Jacket
Another item that is useful in the event of a breakdown is a high-vis jacket or vest. This will make sure you are more noticeable to other road users, even at night, and so reduces the risk of you being involved in an accident.
We recommend you keep at least one in the vehicle, and if you’re able to and often carry passengers then additional jackets for them.
4. Jumper Cables
A dead battery can lead to you being stranded in inconvenient locations, but as they usually happen when the vehicle is left unused for a prolonged period of time then it’s common for you to be parked in a location with another vehicle able to help. Jumper leads can help restart your vehicle by giving the battery a surge of current from another vehicle and recharging it so that you can drive the vehicle for a long enough distance to fully recharge it.
We advise keeping a set of jumper leads in the boot, especially if you’re leaving the car unattended for a while.
Batteries can also run flat during cold weather or if they are in a deteriorating condition so if you are having to jump-start your vehicle regularly you should get it looked at.
5. Winter Car Kit
A winter car kit contains all the essentials you’ll need if your car breaks down or you’re stranded during the colder months, and because of this it’s sometimes known as a breakdown kit.
Just like your first aid kit, this can be a minimal kit or one prepared for every eventuality depending on your needs. We would recommend keeping at least a few essentials in a bag like a torch, a pair of sturdy shoes such as walking boots, something to keep you warm like a blanket or a thick jumper and something to eat that will keep well for a long time such as a protein bar.
You should always keep an unopened bottle of water in your car in case of emergencies.
This will not only help you stay hydrated on particularly hot days but can be used in an emergency to clean wounds or to top up windscreen washer fluid if you’re running low on a muddy road.
We recommend making sure that if you use the bottle of water it is replaced when you’re next in the vehicle so that you’ve always got one to hand.
7. De-Icer / Ice Scraper
During the winter de-icer or an ice scraper is essential to clear your windscreen, windows and lights from any ice that builds up overnight. As we live in the UK where a cold front can hit at any time we’d advise keeping them in the car throughout the year so you’re not caught off guard.
A scraper can also be used to remove other things, such as birdlime, from your car to keep it looking its best.
8. Phone Charger
In the modern world we all rely on our phones for more than just a way to call for help. When in the car they’re used to entertain us via playing music or podcasts, to pay for food and other goods at service stations and drive thrus, apps for navigating your way around and much more.
A lot of modern cars will have a charging solution for you, such as wireless charging or USB ports for you to connect and charge your phone whilst in the car but even if they don’t you can buy an adaptor for the 12V socket in the vehicle.
We’d also suggest keeping a spare three pin plug adaptor for your charger, so that if you need to unexpectedly stop or charge your phone outside of the vehicle you are able to do so.
A phone is vital for keeping you connected and safe which is why we’ve included it in our top ten essentials.
A bright glare from the sun can be very distracting for drivers, especially when you’re headed towards it, which is why it’s important to keep a spare pair of sunglasses within reach in your car.
Although all cars have sun visors these are typically static and so don’t always get the right angle, whereas sunglasses move with your gaze and so will reduce the risk of your visibility being affected by the sunshine.
10. Insurance Details
You should always keep something in your car with your insurance details on, whether this is a document you’ve created, a note in your glovebox or even a copy of your policy documents. This will keep the details close to hand in case you are involved in an accident and need to exchange them, or you need to provide this information when asked to do so by the police.
Other Useful Items for Your Car
Your car should come with a spare tyre, or as is becoming increasingly popular with newer models an inflation kit, and we would recommend not removing this from the vehicle. You should also be checking them regularly to make sure that they are in a good condition in case you do need to use them.
You might also find it helpful to keep some, or all, of the below items in your car as well:
- A bin – a small basket or carrier bag that you can put all of your rubbish into which is easy to remove at the end of a long journey.
- Tissues – they can be used to help resolve a whole range of different problems, including sticky hands, spilt drinks, birdlime and much more. You don’t need a full box either, just slip a travel pack into your console and you’ll have them close by.
- Pen and paper – something to write on and something to write with can be useful if you need to make a note of anything or give someone your details. Please note you should not write notes while driving, only once the car is stationary.
- Sun cream – especially in the summer months you might find it useful to keep some of your favourite sun cream in the car so that if you’re caught by some unexpected sunshine whilst out and about you can protect your skin.
- A spare jumper or coat – we already mentioned you should put something to keep you warm in your winter kit, but if you decide a full kit isn’t the right choice for you then you should still have a jumper or coat in the car so that if you reach your destination and it’s colder than expected you.