It’s impossible to anticipate every eventuality on the road, but there are some steps you can take to ensure you’re as prepared as possible for any situation you might encounter.
All year round
A cluttered car will make things difficult to find and could lead to items rolling under the pedals and posing a safety threat. However, you should carry the following:
Mobile phone: The majority of people carry these without thinking now and they really can help get you out of a tricky situation
Torch: Make sure it works. If you can download a torch app for your mobile phone that makes the perfect back-up
Map: Having an up-to-date map book can help you identify where you are in an emergency, help other people, and will work when sat navs and mobile phones won’t
First aid kit: It’s the law in some countries to carry one of these and it’s a good idea, even if it only contains some plasters and painkillers
Reflective vest: These are also the law in most European countries and they can be vital for keeping you safe on the roadside if you break down
Sun glasses: These can be vital all year round whether it’s for low autumn and winter sun or bright spring and summer rays
Tow rope: You never know when one of these might be invaluable, whether it’s for you to tow another car or someone to tow you
Fluids: Make sure you don’t get dehydrated on hot days
Sunscreen: You can get burned inside the car through an open window or sunroof. Choose factor 20 or higher.
Hat: In an open top car on a sunny day, heat stroke is a real risk
Windscreen scraper/de-icer spray: In the depths of winter first thing in the morning isn’t the only time when your car can ice up. It could do so in the afternoon before you leave work to come home
Shovel: This will help you dig snow away from your wheels if you get stuck
Mat or piece of old carpet: You can put this under the wheels for extra traction in snow
Warm clothes/rug/blanket: If you get stranded in winter, you can run your engine and the heating to keep the car warm. But you might want to save fuel and cars cool down very quickly. Carrying something to keep you warm could be a great help
Sturdy shoes: Your normal shoes may be unsuitable if you have to get out of the car in bad weather
Food and a warm drink: If you’re driving somewhere remote where there’s a chance you may get stuck, keep some chocolate and a freshly filled flask on board
Driving shoes: Your feet are a vital part of keeping control of the car. Platform shoes with thick soles, stilettos with sharply pointed heels, strappy sandals or flip flops are all potentially dangerous as they can slip off pedals, or off your feet, or get caught in floor mats.
Before any long journey
Ensure your car is properly maintained. Follow our tips here