10. A basic toolkit
You don’t want to weigh your car down too much, but you never know when an emergency might call for the use of a few basic tools, like screwdrivers, a tyre gauge, a jack and tools to help you remove a tyre.
Top tip: your car might already come with a basic toolkit. Check your handbook to for where to find it.
9. A map
While you’re probably able to find your location using your mobile phone (only when safely parked of course), you know that you’re bound to have no battery just when you really need it.
There’s no harm in keeping an old fashioned map in your boot just in case you find yourself getting lost without your phone to help you.
8. A basic first aid kit
You never know when you might need to carry out some basic first aid while out on the road, whether it’s an accident you’ve been involved with, or one you’ve witnessed.
Make sure you’ve always got items such as bandages, gauze, tape and disinfectant in the car.
Top tip: check out gov.uk’s guide to first aid on the road: https://www.gov.uk/first-aid-on-the-road
7. A spare in-car mobile phone charger
Especially if you’re a female driver driving alone, it’s crucial that you can call for help in an emergency, so always make sure you have a spare in-car charger in your car.
You can buy a USB car charger quite cheaply, so all you have to do is connect the appropriate cable for your phone.
Alternatively, you could get hold of a cheap spare mobile phone and keep it fully charged in your car in case you ever need it.
6. A torch
This is a simple one but could really help you if you find yourself in trouble when it’s dark, especially if there aren’t any street lights.
5. Warning triangles
If you break down you may find warning triangles helpful to warn approaching drivers of an obstruction in the road.
Also, if you’re driving abroad, depending on the country you could end up with a fine if you don’t have warning triangles in your car. Check out our sister company’s guide to driving abroad for more information.
4. Spare engine coolant, oil and windscreen fluid
This one’s a no-brainer, especially if you regularly drive long distances.
Make sure you check your oil, water, antifreeze and screenwash levels regularly to avoid coming into difficulties on a long journey. You should also keep some spare supplies in the car just in case you run out while away from home.
Top tip: only check or top up your engine coolant when the engine is cold (i.e. you haven’t driven the car for a while), as it’s a pressurised container.
This handy video from Halfords shows you how to check and replace your car oil:
This one from the AA explains how to check and top up your coolant:
3. Spare warm clothing
We all know how cold it can get in winter in this country, so pack a jumper or two, or maybe a blanket, in case you’re stuck waiting in or out of your car for a while.
2. The contact numbers for your insurance and breakdown companies
Again, don’t rely on your mobile phone for this one. Just note down the key numbers for both your insurance and breakdown companies (including both Customer Service and the Claims Line, plus the emergency numbers if there are any) on a piece of paper and keep it somewhere safe – perhaps in the glove box of the car.
Are you a drive like a girl customer? If you have an accident please call us as soon as you can on 0330 022 0123, even if you don’t want to make a claim. If you need to make a new claim you can contact us 24/7.
1. Jump leads
If you suddenly discover your car battery is dead, having a set of jump leads in your car will hopefully save you, providing a sympathetic driver stops to help, or you have someone to call who can come to your aid.
Top tip: your car manual will include instructions for how to use the cables to jump start your car without causing problems to the electrics or injuring yourself.
For more information on legal car maintenance requirements, check out gov.uk’s guide.