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Essential Items to Keep in Your Vehicle

  Kelly Lodewyks


 28 Aug, 2019

Important Things to Keep in Your Car

Kelly Lodewyks unpacks the modern motorist’s surprisingly robust plethora of roadside kit. We can all learn from this.

After a recent conversation with some close family members and friends about what they keep in their vehicles as the bare essentials, I was left astonished. I’m not talking about the spare wheel and jack etc. I’m talking about the other stuff - clothes, shoes, a first-aid kit.

This made me wonder whether or not everyone was like this, extensively prepped. Does everyone else travel with their own emergency kit? I don’t necessarily mean a life-threatening emergency kit. I mean any sort of emergency - a shoe emergency, an emergency that requires a road-side picnic, a gym emergency and more. This required some clever crowd sourcing.

We posed the following question on Facebook:

“FELLOW MOTORISTS! What essentials do you keep in your car? It could be anything, duct tape, cable ties, wet wipes, spare shoes. I wanna know!”

And boy, did we get a lot of responses! In order to make sure that you, dear reader, are prepared for any and all emergencies, we’ve put it all in a story to highlight some of the most common choices that most people mentioned in their comments.

In case of emergency

Many of the comments on this post included items that you would need in case of a breakdown or getting stuck at the side of the road due to car issues. Some comments mentioned a spare wheel, jack and spanner. I feel like that really should be a no brainer, but hey just in case it’s not - please ensure that your car has all of these. All vehicles come with it as standard, but sometimes they go missing or we use the spare wheel and forget to fix or replace the broken one.

Other breakdown supplies that were mentioned include jumper leads, a tow rope, a multitool, a mini first-aid kit and a printed copy of emergency phone numbers. A reflective jacket was also mentioned in case you find yourself in the dark and need other motorists to see you.

Keep it clean

Vehicles get dirty and the people inside the vehicle can easily get dirty too, especially if you have kids. It’s no surprise then that many people mentioned that they keep wet wipes, tissues and toilet paper in their vehicles.

Some also keep hand sanitiser because you never know when you may need it. My dad also commented on the post and being the well-prepared guy that I know he is, he mentioned that he keeps a 12V vacuum cleaner and a hand broom in his bakkie.

Safety first

The reality is that we live in South Africa and, as a result, many of us take extra precautions to stay safe. There were many items mentioned that could either be used as a weapon or used to deter potential theft. This includes a pocketknife, pepper spray, a dash cam to record any incidents (great for insurance purposes too), a taser and a gun. If you are wanting to carry the latter in your car, please do exercise extreme caution, get the licence and follow all the legal requirements for owning this.

Keeping it comfy

I can see that there are many comfort items in everyone’s vehicles. Many women mentioned that they keep a pair of driving shoes in the car. Other items for added comfort include a blanket for cold passengers and snacks. There was also mention of spare make-up items - just in case.

Stuff for older cars

Those who own older cars mentioned that they keep a spare bottle of water in their vehicle in case it overheats, an extra pint of oil and a fire extinguisher.

Other random things

It’s clear by some of the comments that many people are prepared for anything. The avid campers and outdoorsy people out there are somehow prepared to camp at any time. Many travel with spare picnic chairs, a spare knife and fork and a sleeping bag. The majority of the comments mentioned cable ties and duct tape. Also, a spare pen, a torch or headlight and phone charging cables and power bank came up a few times.

It’s clear to me that I need to stock up on my essentials in my car. I will definitely be using these suggestions going forward. Most of them. Some of them. The non-bizarre ones. I think we can all learn something from this - it’s good to be prepared for anything. Rather have it and don’t use it, than need it and not have it.

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