By Kasia Ozog
Published: Thursday, December 2, 2021
Much of our life is spent in our cars getting out and about or on the daily commute to work and school. Plus, local driving holidays have become increasingly popular since COVID-19 put an end to many people’s overseas and interstate travel plans.
But how prepared are you for potential situations that may arise while you’re on the road – like a breakdown or bingle in the car park of your local shopping centre?
RAA Technical Advisory Services Manager Andrew Clark says there are several items you should keep in your glove box for when life doesn’t quite go to plan.
“From a torch to disposable gloves and a first aid kit, there are some items that are handy to store in your car,” Mr Clark says.
We’ve come up with a list of 10 items that’ll help if you have a mishap on the road.
Whether it’s to help you see under your car’s bonnet if faced with an engine problem or to find something you’ve dropped in or outside your vehicle – a torch is an onboard essential. A manual wind-up model is ideal, so you don’t have to worry about batteries going flat.
2. First aid kit
A first aid kit is a must-have item to ensure you’re prepared for any medical emergency, big or small.
Most standard kits will include band aids, scissors, alcohol swabs, bandages, and burn and antiseptic creams. You can buy a range of first aid kits from RAA, including caravan and camping kits, as well as those catering for snake bites and pet injuries. If glove box space is tight, keep your kit in the boot.
3. Pen and paper
If the unfortunate happens and you’re involved in an accident, you’ll probably need to exchange details with the other driver.
If you have your mobile on you, you can use this to record any information. But remember you might be on the phone and needing to jot down some details, so it’s good to have a backup system. Sometimes a pencil is better than a pen, which can dry out over time, especially if not used regularly – just remember to pack a small sharpener, too.
Here’s a handy list of the important details you need if you’re in an accident.
Spills, sneezes, sticky fingers – the odds are high you’ll need to reach for wipes at some stage to mop up a mess. If you’re a parent of young children, wipes could also come in handy if you’re caught without any in your nappy bag. Antibacterial wipes are a great alternative to hand sanitiser, which can get hot in cars, and handy for those times you head out without your usual bag, or just need to give your hands a quick clean, like after a shop or fuelling up.
6. Disposable gloves
Slip these on if you need to touch or clean up anything grimy or check your engine’s oil level.
7. Phone charger cord
Most new cars feature a USB port, which lets you plug in your phone cable and charge it while you’re on the road. Keeping a spare cord in your glove box is super handy in case you forgot to charge your phone before leaving home or it goes flat after a day out.
8. Car manual
Your car’s manual is full of useful information, like explanations about what warning lights mean or what pressure your tyres need to be. It also lists the description and schedule of maintenance required. Of course, in the event of a breakdown, RAA Road Service is always here to help.
Did you know that RAA batteries are covered by a nation-wide warranty of up to three years? Our patrols love it if you keep your warranty/receipt handy in your car manual, too.
9. Duct tape
Strong, durable and multi-purpose, duct tape is ideal to help with any temporary quick fixes, such as loose bumpers or cracked glass, until you can get them repaired by the professionals. After a repairer? Visit the RAA Approved Repairer locator.
10. Reusable shopping bags
Do your bit for the planet and keep reusable shopping bags in your car to not only reduce the amount of plastic in the environment but to also save money. While it might not seem like much, if you’re spending 15c a bag every time you do a grocery shop it can add up over the course of a year and that’s money that is better in your pocket.
A final word of advice
Along with all the items you should keep in your glove box, there are things you should leave at home for safety reasons, Mr Clark says.
“Don’t keep bills or letters containing your name, address, email or bank details on them, in your car,” he says.
“Same goes with house keys and roller door controllers. On the chance that a break-in occurs, you don’t want the thieves to have this private information at their disposal.
“Valuables, such as money, even if only a few coins, should also be concealed so they’re not visible to prying eyes.”
Flammables, such as lighters, should also be kept out of vehicles because of the risk of them exploding in high temperatures.