We should all be prepared for the worst and always have the right things on board to handle a car breakdown. This even applies to new or well maintained cars - things can go wrong, and it’s always better to be prepared rather than stranded.
So what should you always have with you in your car to properly prepare for a breakdown? Here’s a breakdown (pardon the pun) of what you should keep on hand:
This is the most obvious one, as a great percentage of breakdowns occur due to a tyre failure. Simply replacing that tyre can get you up and running again almost instantly. Along with the spare, keep a tyre gauge with you so that you can check that the new tyre is roadworthy before you replace it. Of course, don’t forget the tyre changing equipment!
First aid kit
At the very minimum you should have a first aid manual, bandages, gauze pads and dressings, antiseptic cream, tweezers, scissors, and headache tablets. In case of an accident, and a first aid kit can ease a lot of the stress out of treating minor injuries.
A portable extinguisher can prevent a complete disaster should the breakdown also result in fire. For cars, a dry chemical powder extinguisher is best, as the material is better suited to fires in flammable liquid and electrical fires, the majority of fires likely to occur in a car.
In order to get any necessary help to your location as quickly as possible, you’re going to want to have a street directory handy so as to provide accurate directions. The benefit of having a paper street directory is that you’ll be able to easily refer to it while explaining to someone on the phone where you have broken down.
Portable phone recharge battery
The only thing worse than being stranded on the side of a road is being stranded with a flat phone battery. Having a portable recharge battery on hand is a useful way of making sure that, in the event of an emergency, you’re able to connect to someone for help.
Ever tried changing a tyre in the dark? If you’re driving at night and break down, then a flashlight will be essential in helping you to figure out what’s wrong, and fix it.
High visibility vest
If you break down on a busy road, then you’ll want one of these in order to maximise your personal safety when you get out of the car and move around. It’s also essential at night, regardless of the road, in making sure other drivers can spot you.
Many modern vehicles have these fitted, but if not, be sure to install one. It adds that extra bit of security allowing you to step away from the car if you need to find a phone or other assistance.
This is especially applicable in Australia with its propensity for high temperatures. Water solves a functional purpose in allowing you to top up a radiator or wash debris away from a windscreen, but it also can save your life in preventing dehydration.
If you’re travelling into rural areas, then it’s a good idea to have some sweets (or preserved and environment-resistant foodstuffs) in the car. If there is a breakdown, and help will take a while to arrive, these will help stave off hunger and anxiety, and provide some energy if needed.