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Five Things You Must Keep In Your Car

Sep 6, 2008
When you reach the age where you begin driving lessons, you learn how to drive the car, the highway code and rules of the road, and you may even learn how to change a tyre or replace the bulbs. Some people learn a lot more and these are well prepared for any eventuality that may occur while they are out on the road.

Driving is a learning experience. It doesn't matter how long you have been driving or how many times you have broken down, crashed or been pulled over by the police - you will always be more prepared the next time. Every time something goes wrong with your car, you will be prepared if the same thing ever happens again. Experience teaches you to be prepared.

There are many items that are recommended for you to keep in the boot or glove-box of your car. Your driving instructor may chat to you during your lessons, giving little hints and tips that they have picked up in their years of experience. Also, if your father is an experienced driver, he will often give you advice about the common problems that motorists face and so will help you avoid falling victim to these preventable obstacles.

An inexperienced driver may not know what to do if their car broke down, especially in a quiet road or where few cars will pass. Nearly everybody now will have a mobile phone so this will not make the Top Five List. However, ensure you have an in-car charger and that your phone is able to make calls in case of such a problem.

With a mobile phone, you are able to contact the right people to ensure that if you are stuck somewhere, they will come and get you or will send a recovery service to ensure you aren't stranded. However, recovery services can take a long time to find you, so always take a blanket with you in the boot of your car. This can be used for sitting on, if the ground is wet, or to keep you warm while you wait to be recovered.

Another key item that will prove invaluable in this situation is a battery-powered torch. Stranded in the dark is not a pleasant experience, so packing a torch will make it more bearable and will help you with any minor repairs. Changing a tyre can be a tricky business in the dark, so always keep a charged torch in the car.

If you drive to work, family occasions or any event where you are expected to maintain a set dress-code or appearance, ensure that your glove box has either tissues or an even better choice - wet wipes. Wet wipes or baby wipes are a fantastic addition to your holiday luggage, so why not keep them handy for road trips and car journeys away from home.

So many car problems that you may face will involve lifting the bonnet, handling parts or touching the exterior of your car. As all car-owners know, the outside of your car will become extremely dirty in a short space of time. Handling tyres, dipsticks, wiper blades and even your petrol cap can result in your hands being covered in dirt, oil and general grime.

The use of plastic gloves when refilling your tank is a great start, but carrying a pack of wipes will enable you to feel fresh instantly and prevent the transfer of filth onto your clothes. When you are well-presented for an important meeting, it would be infuriating to find an oil smear on your ice-white shirt. Wipes can also be used by families with children that have sticky fingers after food, clean hands will mean clean seats and upholstery.

Anyone who has been in a car when it overheats will understand the importance of the next item on the list. A two-litre bottle of water. This is not the emergency drinking water that you may take if you were driving across a desert or the Australian outback, but water for more practical purposes.

Recently, while driving along the motorway, I came to a long section of roadworks with a plethora of heavy machinery and small army of workers. As i continued through the roadwork populous, my windscreen became opaque with dirt and dust. I anxiously clutched at the magic wand of windscreen wash, alas, it was empty. I vainly attempted to move the dirt with my dry wiper blades, only to make matters worse. More by luck than judgment, I made it to the next junction where I filled up with the free water at the service station. And i survived.

This is a serious issue and can grossly affect your visibility and therefore your ability to drive. The benefit of a bottle of water vastly outweighs the slight annoyance of it sometimes rolling about while you drive, causing a strange noise that makes you think there is a small animal burrowing into your back seat. The other benefit for the water, aside from filling the windscreen wash, can be gained if you use it to fill your radiator to avoid your car overheating, as mentioned earlier.

The fifth and final item that you must always keep in your car, is another one that you should attempt to have on your person at all times. As with a mobile phone, this item maybe shouldn't make the list as most people carry this wherever they go. However, I am going to suggest that you must always have money, currency or cold-hard cash in your car.

To carry cash in your car is not going to encourage someone to break into it, unless you display it blatantly or if it is a big wad of hundreds of pounds in notes. By cash, I am suggesting that you ensure you always have a few pounds of coins and change in your car at any one time. These coins will be extremely useful at various times, mainly when you need to pay for a parking space or if your route requires you to pay a toll.

Coins can fit into various small compartments in your car, so ensure that you stock up and always have a minimum amount that you will never go below. Car parks can be expensive and rarely accept credit card payments, so these coins could save you a lot of money in fines and parking tickets.

Tolls are rare in the UK, but will be found more regularly, when you travel for greater distances. Be prepared for this and fill your car's ashtray with some pound coins and fifty pence pieces, and you will avoid that awkward, uncomfortable realisation when you reach into your pocket only to feel your sweaty thigh.

So, to summarise, ensure your car is equipped for most emergencies that you may face. This advice is just a starting point, and the more experienced that you become as a driver, the more items will be added to your list. As you finish reading, go get your blanket, torch (with batteries of course), bottle of water, wet wipes and coins and put them in your car. You never know when you might need them, but if you haven't got them in there you will regret it at some point.
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