Do you have what you need if your car breaks down? What if you’re stranded somewhere for several hours? Check out this list of things you should have in your car then hope that you never need to use them!
- Extra batteries and cables for your cell phone. This can make the difference between getting help quickly and having to walk several kilometres on the highway shoulder. Whether your phone has a replaceable battery or not, you can buy portable battery packs that will allow you to get a few more charges out of your phone. (Make sure you periodically recharge the battery packs themselves the lithium-polymer cells used in most portable batteries self-discharge at a rate of approximately 5% per month.)
As a bonus, having a lot of phone power in reserve also means that you can dispense with carrying a traditional flashlight and simply use your smartphone’s LED flash light.
Note: Even if you don’t subscribe to a cell phone service, keep an old phone in your glovebox, all phones can be used to call 911 in an emergency. Just keep it powered off and check its battery level from time to time.
- Jumper cables. Car batteries can go kaput without warning. Keep good quality jumper cables in your trunk and remember: when trying to jump start your car, connect the good car’s positive battery terminal to your battery’s positive terminal, and the good car’s negative to an unpainted metal part of your car – NOT the negative terminal of your battery!
- Bottled water. Not only to drink, but should your car experience a coolant leak, you can use the above-mentioned duct tape to temporarily patch the leak, then use the water to top up your coolant level.
- First-aid kit. It should ideally include band-aids, adhesive tape, gauze pads, aspirin, antiseptic wipes and an antiseptic cream or ointment.