While some keep their vehicle spic-and-span, others drive around with enough stuff that they could probably live in their car if they needed to. In between those extremes, there’s a happy medium that ensures you’re prepared for any situation, from the routine to the emergency.
Here are 11 items that every driver should keep in their car:
- Important Documentation – Although this one seems like an obvious one, people get tickets every day for not carrying their license, ownership, or pink slip. Make sure they’re valid too!
- Emergency Kit – A kit of basic tools, a flashlight, first aid kit, duct tape, a reflector and your roadside assistance card (if you have one). This also makes a great gift for a brand new driver!
- Spare Tire in Good Condition – Even if you only have a “donut” spare, it will at least get you to the nearest service center. You’ll also need a tire jack, tire iron, and the special security key comes with most cars. Need a refresher on how to change your tire? Here are some step-by-step instructions.
- Jumper Cables – Maybe your battery is reaching the end of its life, or maybe you just left your headlights on by accident. Dead batteries happen and it’s important to have jumper cables and to know how to use them.
- Survival Kit – With today’s technology, it’s unlikely that you’d be stranded anywhere for too long, but it’s better to be prepared. Items like a blanket, warm clothes, a water jug and non-perishable foods like granola bars are good to have on hand—even in non-emergency situations.
- Ice Scraper – For fellow Ontarians, this one is a bit of a no-brainer. But a lot of people take them out of the trunk when winter is over and forget to put them back in when November rolls around. An ice scraper with a telescopic pole can save trunk space, so you’re never without one.
- Windshield Washer Fluid – When roads get slushy, the splashback from other vehicles can be extra dangerous if you run out of washer fluid. Make sure that in the winter, your fluid is rated for cold temperatures and that you flush out your summer fluid before it freezes in the lines.
- Traction Helper – If you’ve never been stuck in snow, you’re one lucky Ontarian! For the rest of us, a traction helper is a good item to have. Kitty litter or piece of carpet or cardboard can help give your tires the extra traction needed to get moving again.
- Notebook and Pen – If you happen to be involved in an accident, having a notebook and pen handy to collect information is a must. Not sure what info to collect? Here’s what every driver should know about what to do after an accident.
- Spare Change/Emergency Money – There are countless reasons to carry some emergency money in your car. Try not to use it in a pinch at the Tim Horton’s drive-thru though!
- Car phone charger – We saved the best for last. With a powered phone, you can call for help and avoid having to use many of the items above. It’s also handy to have in the event of an accident, not only to call for help but also to snap photos of the scene, damage, and other driver’s license and insurance.
How many of these items do you have in your car? With the holidays coming up, consider preparing a kit with some of these items for a loved one.