Most of us spend a fair amount of time driving in our cars on a daily basis. We can’t always prevent breakdowns or accidents, but we can be prepared by keeping a few important items in our cars that will help in the event of an emergency.
Make sure that you have your licence, registration, insurance papers, car manual and roadside assistance information on hand. Add a pen and some notepaper should you need to write down details after an accident, and you are good to go.
A basic tool kit and/or multi-tool will come on handy if you need a screwdriver, a pair of pliers of a pair of scissors.
Wire and duct tape will help with workaround repairs such as reattaching an exhaust pipe or holding body panels or bumpers in place after an accident until you can get to a garage for proper repairs.
WD-40 spray lubricant – while duct tape helps with things that move when they shouldn’t, WD-40 can help with things that don’t move that should.
A first-aid kit will help you to deal effectively with any minor injuries or accidents.
LED flares and reflective triangles will help during a breakdown at night, when it is vitally important for other motorists to be able to see you.
A torch and spare batteries will help you to see things at night – don’t rely only on your phone.
Keep a travel map of Australia in your car, for those times when technology fails you.
Food and water – things like nuts, muesli bars, jerky and dried fruit will travel well and will last for a while. In the city, this could be a convenience – but in rural areas this could be the difference between life and death if you are stranded for a long period of time, in summer.
Face wipes will come in handy whether you are in the city or in the bush. In addition to being used to clean up after eating in the car, they are an essential if you are transporting children. They will also help tremendously if you need to clean up after tinkering in the engine or changing a tyre.
Always keep a spare phone charger and power bank in your car – and even a spare basic phone fully charged, would be a great backup should your primary phone fail.
A spare tyre, full size, in good condition and inflated to the correct tyre pressure is an essential to carry in your car, together with a tyre changing kit. Tyre inflators and sealers are also useful should you get a puncture. Many manufacturers supply a space saver spare as standard equipment – this will do in urban areas to help you get to the nearest garage – but if you are in rural areas, especially on roads that are not tarred, it probably won’t get you as far as you need.
Jumper cables can get you going again if you experience a flat battery. Remember positive to positive and negative to negative – having jumper leads handy can help you or another stranded motorist.
Coolant and water – if you are going on a long journey and your car overheats, you will be glad that you packed these.
Put an umbrella or rain proof jacket in your car, to make sure that you are covered for those unexpected rainstorms. Along these lines, sunscreen and a hat – in case you are stranded in the heat.