Safety and emergency tools to carry in your vehicle
Driving is such an everyday activity now that it’s easy to overlook the fact that things can sometimes go wrong. Whilst we tend to take the reliability of modern cars for granted, it’s still a good idea to be prepared for the worst with the right collection of tools and equipment. Most cars nowadays will come equipped with a jack and either a spare tyre, or a patch and inflator, but for other types of breakdown or accident you’re going to need a bit more than that.
Here’s a short list of the most essential tools to keep in your vehicle in case of emergencies.
It’s a good idea to keep a torch in your car in case of an emergency at night. It can be incredibly difficult to change a tyre, or fix something under the bonnet in the dark, and without a torch, minor issues at night time can become major ones. Be sure to keep some extra batteries for your torch as well, in case yours are flat - and perhaps even a spare bulb too.
There are a whole heap of flammable materials in your car - not least of which is the fuel supply. A small prang can become a huge catastrophe if a fire starts, so be sure to give yourself the means to put any fires out before they become blazing infernos. Always keep your extinguisher charged, and don’t drive around without it safely secured with the right bracket. It might also be a good idea to keep a fire blanket stowed in your vehicle - particularly if you have a camping setup.
There are countless tools for countless jobs when it comes to cars, but even a small selection of the most commonly used tools can give you a huge advantage in an emergency or breakdown situation. You can purchase pre-prepared emergency toolkits, or assemble one yourself but either way, be sure to include; Screwdrivers, pliers and wire cutters, a selection of spanners, or a ratchet and sockets. To expand your capabilities, it might be worth including a roll of wire and some electrical tape.
A dead battery can be a real pain, but provided that you have some jumper cables and another helpful human around (with a car of course) you should be fine. If you are going to be travelling in far more remote locations, then it’s a good idea to upgrade to a jump starter.
Warning Sign & Wet Weather Gear
Often overlooked are things you can use to flag down or warn other motorists in case of an emergency. Back in the day, cars were equipped with roadside flares, but now a simple foldable sign will usually suffice. Be sure to also pack in a brightly coloured waterproof poncho too - in case you need to get out in the rain to sort things out, and need to remain visible to other drivers when you do so.
A tow strap is particularly useful to carry onboard if you drive a lot of country roads, or in particularly bad conditions and they are essential to have if you go offroad. They can also be handy to use to move broken down cars out of the way of other motorists. Be sure to always attach them to proper tow points, and use them with care.
Emergency tools usually come equipped with the means to break a window and to cut through seatbelts. They are designed to aid in the escape from a wrecked vehicle where time may be limited, so be sure to keep yours in an easy to reach location.
Other Things to Carry in Case of Emergencies
It may be a good idea to carry some spare fluids with you in case of a breakdown - particularly coolant and oil. Also consider packing a few bottles of water - both for your car and for its occupants, since being stranded in the middle of nowhere can be thirsty work. Spare bulbs and fuses are incredibly useful to keep in your dashboard or toolkit as well. Finally, emergency blankets can be super handy - not just to stay warm with, but to lie or kneel on when changing a tyre or fixing a problem on the side of the road.