Roadside Readiness: Essential Emergency Items Every Driver Should Keep in Their Car
The open road is full of unexpected surprises, and while some may be pleasant, others can be challenging and even dangerous. According to the RAC, there were 11.5 million breakdowns in the UK between 2018 and 2019. As a UK driver, being prepared for emergencies is essential for ensuring the safety and wellbeing of both yourself and your passengers. In this article, we'll explore the must-have emergency items to keep in your car that can help you tackle any roadside challenge with confidence.
- First Aid Kit
A well-stocked first aid kit is crucial for treating minor injuries and managing medical emergencies. Essential items to include are band-aids, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, adhesive tape, gauze, scissors, tweezers, and any necessary prescription medications. Remember to regularly check your first aid kit to ensure that all items are up-to-date and replenished as needed.
- Breakdown Kit
A breakdown kit can help you tackle common roadside issues, such as a flat tyre or a dead battery. Key components of a breakdown kit include:
- Tyre inflator and sealant: To temporarily repair a punctured tyre.
- Jump leads: To restart a dead battery.
- Tyre pressure gauge: To monitor and maintain proper tyre pressure.
- Spare tyre, jack, and wheel wrench: To replace a flat tyre.
- Reflective Warning Triangles
Reflective warning triangles are crucial for alerting other drivers to your presence when you're stopped on the side of the road. Place one triangle at least 45 metres behind your vehicle and another in front to provide ample warning to oncoming traffic.
- Torch and Extra Batteries
Having a torch on hand is essential for illuminating your surroundings during night-time emergencies. Opt for a reliable, waterproof torch with a long battery life and keep a spare set of batteries in your car.
- Blankets and Warm Clothing
In case of a breakdown during colder months, it's important to have blankets and warm clothing in your car to stay warm and comfortable. Consider including items such as hats, gloves, and thermal socks in your emergency kit.
- Non-Perishable Food and Water
Keeping a supply of non-perishable food and water in your car can be a lifesaver during prolonged breakdowns or emergencies. Opt for nutrient-dense, long-lasting food items such as granola bars, nuts, and dried fruit. Don't forget to include enough water for all passengers, following the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recommendations of 2.0 litres per day for women and 2.5 litres per day for men.
- Portable Phone Charger
A charged phone is crucial for contacting emergency services or roadside assistance during an emergency. Keep a portable phone charger or power bank in your car to ensure you can keep your phone charged at all times.
- Ice Scraper and Snow Brush
For UK drivers, icy and snowy conditions can be a common occurrence during winter months. Ensure that you have an ice scraper and snow brush in your car to remove ice and snow from your vehicle's windows and mirrors, maintaining visibility and safety on the road.
- Fire Extinguisher
A fire extinguisher designed for automotive use can help you quickly and effectively put out small fires that may occur in your vehicle. Choose a compact extinguisher that is easy to store and ensure that it's regularly inspected and maintained.
- Road Map and GPS
While many drivers rely on their smartphones for navigation, it's important to have a backup plan in case of signal loss or device failure. Keep a road map in your car and consider investing in a dedicated GPS device to ensure you always have access to reliable navigation.
- Emergency Money
Keeping a small amount of cash in your car can be helpful for purchasing essential items during an emergency, especially in situations where card payments aren't accepted or electronic systems are down. Store the money in a safe and discreet location within your vehicle.
- Tow Rope and Ratchet Straps
A tow rope can be invaluable if your car needs to be towed to a nearby garage or out of a difficult situation. Similarly, ratchet straps can help secure items to your vehicle's roof or in the boot, ensuring they don't shift during transport. Make sure to familiarise yourself with how to use these items safely and effectively.
- Basic Tool Kit
A basic tool kit can help you address minor repairs and maintenance tasks on the road. Include essential tools such as a screwdriver set, pliers, adjustable wrench, and a tyre pressure gauge. Familiarise yourself with the proper use of these tools and ensure they are in good working condition.
- Umbrella and Waterproof Clothing
The UK is known for its unpredictable weather, and having an umbrella and waterproof clothing in your car can help keep you dry during roadside emergencies. Include items such as a waterproof jacket, trousers, and sturdy shoes to ensure you're prepared for any weather situation.
Roadside emergencies can happen to anyone, but being prepared can make all the difference in managing these situations effectively and safely. By equipping your car with these essential emergency items, you'll be ready to face any challenge the open road throws your way. As a UK driver, take the time to assemble your emergency kit and familiarise yourself with the use of each item, ensuring that you and your passengers are always prepared for the unexpected.