by Anthony Rodge
Always hope for the best, but expect the worst. Expecting the worst does not mean wishing for it, but accidents do happen and not everything goes according to plan. When it comes to travelling, the worst can be particularly bad - getting stranded, injured or even dying. Driving is the most popular form of transportation, but it is also one of the riskiest. When you buy a new car, the manufacturer often provides a number of essentials and necessities, but not all provide everything you need. In this post, I will point out 5 of the most important things that you must have in your car at all times but especially when making long road trips. If you are seeking more ideas refer to the checklist of items you should have in your car and checklist of safety items for your car.
A flashlight, preferably battery-operated, is mandatory. Although your smartphone may have an application that turns the camera flash into a flashlight, you cannot fully rely on it because phones run out of charge fast. Buy a cheap flashlight and keep it in the glove compartment or in your toolbox if you have one.
You have a spare tire, that is good. But having a tire fixer (tire inflator / sealant) is also important. You never know when some kids will just decide to slash two of your tires - and you have only one spare. A flat tire fixer is cheap, light and has no expiry date - you may never get to use it but if you do, you will thank me for suggesting that you get it. However, make sure that the tire fixer you are buying is compatible with your tire type. Consult your mechanic to get advice on which brand and type to go with.
This is particularly useful if you live in places where winter can get really cold. Everyone will need a booster cable once in a while when the battery is low. Battery charge can be drained by many things ranging from damaged or aging battery to forgetting to turn off lights or a short circuit in the car's electrical system. When you buy booster cables, ensure that they are of the right quality and that they actually work.
When it comes to finding directions, an electronic GPS system comes in handy. However, you cannot always fully rely on an electronic gadget, which is why you should also have a paper map for wherever you are going. Even if you are not going far, having a GPS or map can help you avoid heavy traffic or find the nearest gas station when low on fuel.
Most cars come with a very basic first aid kit. I would recommend that you buy a better first aid kit that has everything you could need in case of an accident. An elaborate resource of medical gear could save your life or the life of someone else. A good kit should have medical components such as scissors, painkillers, bandages, disinfectants, antibacterial ointments, burn cream and a list of phone numbers to call in case of emergency. Also, when you buy a first aid kit, get a fire extinguisher as well.
This may sound obvious but most people don't take it seriously until they learn the hard way. In case of an accident, you are legally obliged to provide your car registration and insurance information, even if you are not responsible. Your car registration and insurance belong together, always keep them in the car as the law demands.
Checklist of Items You Should Have in Your Car | Checklist of Safety Items You Should Have in Your Car | Avoiding Road Hazards | Defensive Driving in Crime Zones | Car Theft Prevention | Vehicle Fluid Level Checks