The thought of your car breaking down, or being stuck on a closed motorway is not a happy one, but they’re both eventualities which lead you to spend a long period of time stuck in your car.
It doesn’t even have to be that dramatic, you could pop to the cinema, for a bite to eat and a film and come out 3 hours later to find the temperature has dropped and your car is covered in ice.
So, being prepared makes sense; here are 10 things that will really help:
- Ice scraper – not your credit card! (a de-icer aerosol is helpful too)
- Torch – preferably a wind-up one so you don’t find out the batteries have gone flat
- Jump leads – to help get yourself back in the move in the event of a breakdown
- In-car Phone Charger – to keep you in contact
- Blanket – and/or warm clothes, in case you have to leave your car
- Drinking Water – a sealed bottle of drinking water
- Cereal Bars – last for ages and will help keep your energy up
- Hi-Viz Bib – keep safe if you have to leave your car
- Road Map – Sat Nav is not infallible, a road map can help you navigate round an incident
- First aid kit – so you can treat minor injuries
There’s no reason not to carry an ice scraper; it’s small enough to fit in your glove box and does a vital job in clearing your windscreen and side windows when Jack Frost is about.
Carry one and you’ll never have to rely on your credit card or the side of a fag packet ever again!
A wind-up torch is a more valuable tool than you realise. Use your smartphone torch and you’ll be surprised and horrified at how quickly you no longer have a smartphone as the torch setting runs the phone’s battery down so quickly.
Carry a torch that requires batteries to work and you may well find that when its finally called into use, the batteries have dies; invest in a wind-up torch and you’ll always have light.
If, for whatever reason, your battery has died, then carrying jump leads will save you a long spell stranded at the side of the road; plus, you can be a real help to other road users, who are not as prepared as you and help them get on their way with your jump leads.
Feel great about your good deed and polish your halo!
In-car Phone Charger
Anyone who owns an iPhone knows the battery life is not its strongest point! And, if you’re stick for a long time, no matter what make your smartphone, your battery will die. Make sure you carry an in-car charger with you at all times, that way you can remain connected.
Make sure it doesn’t get removed for other uses.
At the very minimum carry a nice warm blanket, preferably backed up with a good warm and waterproof coat. Once you get cold it’ll be hard to warm up and if you have to leave your car then keeping yourself warm and dry will be a massive bonus.
If you’re just carrying a blanket, try and make it a picnic blanket which is waterproofed on the underside, then it can fulfil a dual role.
I once got stuck on the M62 for 3 hours, (a lorry fire), it was a blisteringly hot day and I would have given a great deal for a drink, so this is one I won’t forget. Carry an unopened bottle of water with you; if you don’t need to drink it, you may need to fill your radiator up with it.
Dual purpose and how I wish I’d followed my own advice!
When hunger strikes and you need to keep up your energy, cereal bars are the perfect food. They are small, easy to carry and have a long life, so whether they’re your favourite food or not, keep them on board just in case.
If you breakdown on an unlit road at night, you’re in grave danger of being invisible if you have to leave your car. A Hi-Viz bib, large enough to go over the warm jacket you have stowed away, will help make you visible and keep you safe.
They take up very little room, but could help save your life.
Sat Nav has lulled us all into being rather lazy, putting our trust in technology, but if there’s an accident that closes are road or roads, then a road map will help you navigate your way round and get you back on the move.
Try not to put all your faith in technology, sometimes belt and braces is best.
First aid kit
Every car should car a first aid kit, you never know when it might be needed, for you, your passengers or for other road users. Some cars come with one already in-situ; check whether yours does, if it doesn’t or if you’ve used some of the contents then replace those or get a new kit.
There are other things you could carry, such as a snow shovel, duck tape, windscreen washer, oil, hazard triangle, wellies; the list goes on and if you carried them all your car boot would be full to the brim. It’s sensible to add a snow shovel and wellies or walking boots in the Winter, but not essential all your year round.