Having these essential items in your car — some should be within easy reach of the driver — will help you stay cool under all sorts of situations.A flat tyre, engine trouble, or running out of petrol could leave you stranded. While we all hope these things won’t happen to us, it’s best to be prepared — and have the right tools with us when they do.
A flat tyre is a common roadside emergency. Make sure you have a properly inflated spare tyre — and know how to install it! No point having a spare tyre but not a wheel wrench and a tripod jack in the car as you’ll need these to remove your flat tyre and fit the spare. Instead of a spare tyre and the accompanying equipment, you could pack a tyre repair kit instead. Use it to fix punctures caused by debris without having to remove the tyre! But do note that this is a temporary solution to get you to a car workshop, where a more permanent solution can be found.
If your car’s battery dies, jumper cables (also known as booster cables) can be used to jump-start your car in accordance to the owner’s hand-book instructions, which can temporarily give your car’s battery a boost. Your jumper cables should be long enough to connect your car battery to the battery in any other vehicle parked next to you — we recommend that it be at least 6m long.
If your car happens to be stranded on a busy expressway or crowded intersection, placing reflective triangles around it will make it more visible and alert other drivers to your presence. They can then approach your location with caution, preventing the likelihood of collision and giving you the space to deal with your vehicular problem. Place the triangle 200m before the accident/incident, on the side of the road where other drivers can easily spot it. Some cars come equipped with these nifty items already; if yours doesn’t, get yourself a set.
Duct tape has multiple uses. It can be used to seal a crack in a window, tape a boot shut or even create temporary splints.
Besides keeping you hydrated, water can be poured into your radiator if your car overheats.
While you could use your mobile phone as a light source, having a flashlight would allow you to preserve your phone battery in an emergency. A heavy duty, waterproof flashlight will allow you to peek under the hood more easily and make a nighttime car emergency less frightening. Don’t forget to cart along extra batteries!
First Aid Kit
Should you be involved in a minor collision, having a first aid kit at your disposal is helpful. You could buy a prepackaged kit from a pharmacy or put one together on your own. Do include bandages in varying sizes, gauze, an antibiotic cream, pain relievers, allergy medicine, hand sanitiser, a pair of scissors and cotton swabs.
Car Escape Tool or Pocketknife
In an accident, a pocketknife or car escape tool could come in handy if you need to cut through your seatbelt or break a window in order to get out. Keep the tool reachable from the driver’s seat. You may wish to have an extra tool on the passenger’s side as well. The tool pictured is available in AAShop, which also stocks many other items you will find useful when your car breaks down.