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The Car Safety Essentials That Every Motorist Should Carry

By: Kevin Dowling BA (IMC) - Updated: 19 Mar 2012 | comments*Discuss
Car Safety Essentials Road Weather

When the evenings are getting darker and winter approaches, it is important for motorists to be prepared for any potential situation that they may encounter. In this article we list the safety essentials that every motorist should carry with them, no matter how short their intended journey.

‘Be prepared’ should not only be the motto of boy scouts, but also for motorists too. There are a number of different situations that you could encounter on the road, so think about equipping your car so that you will be in the best position possible to deal with them. The sensible place to start is to think about the weather.

Essentials to carry all year round

There are certain essentials that you should carry with you in your car pretty much all year round. These include a decent sized torch (spare batteries can’t hurt either), replacement bulbs for your headlights and brakelights. It is also worth carrying some screenwash on every journey: a clear, visible windscreen is a prerequisite whenever you travel.

There are other, items, however, that you might not consider as ‘essential’ but often prove invaluable. A good pair of sunglasses, for example, should never be considered just another luxury summer item. The sun can be surprisingly strong at any time of the year, particularly low autumn, winter mornings or springtime. Avoid choosing a pair that offers style over good UV protection.

Essentials to carry during winter

In early 2010 the UK was gripped by heavy snow storms that took most of the country by surprise. Motorways and highways were closed and an alarmingly high number of motorists were trapped for hours at a time whilst snow ploughs attempted to clear blocked roads.

We may not be about to experience another bleak winter as intemperate as the last one, but even so, it makes sense for motorists to anticipate the very worst potential weather and to take sensible precautions.

First off, no motorist should be without a trusty ice scraper and de-icer. In winter temperatures can drop to below freezing in less than an hour. If you are about to purchase de-icer, choose the spray de-icer option, as these disperse their contents quicker.

You might also want to consider putting some additional warm clothing, a rug or a blanket in the boot of your car, just in case you find yourself stranded and have to wait in the cold for any length of time. Similarly, a good pair of wellington boots will help you to maintain your grip and balance if you have to get out of the car, to change a tyre for example.

If you are considering embarking on a journey during particularly cold weather you might want to consider bringing some chocolate and even a flask of hot tea or coffee, just to help keep you warm in the case of an emergency.

If you live in a particularly hilly, or isolated area, where the chances are that a snowstorm will leave you unable to get your car moving, you may wish to carry a shovel to help you dig your way out of trouble, or even some additional mats or spare pieces of carpet that you can put under the wheels of your vehicle for extra traction in icy and snowy weather.

Essentials to carry during the summer

The summertime can also be problematic for motorists, with car engines getting overheated. If you are planning a long journey during hot weather, make sure that you carry enough fluids with you to reduce the risk of dehydration. Similarly, bring some additional water for your car’s radiator to try to minimise the likelihood of your engine overheating.

Also be sensible and use sunscreen. You would be surprised the amount of visitors to hospital casualty departments with sunburn caught whilst driving, either through the sunroof or via an open window on the driver or passenger side. You might also wish to consider bringing some insect repellent or a swatter of some sort. There’s nothing worse than driving with an angry wasp as an unwelcome passenger!

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