- First aid kit:
In case of medical emergencies, a first aid kit is a no-brainer. You can buy pre-packed kits from most pharmacies and supplement them with any specific medical products you think you might need.
- Fire extinguisher:
Car fires have been a hot topic in the news over the last few years, with the infamous Ford Kuga at the top of most people’s minds. Keep an extinguisher handy, even if it’s just a small one, in case you catch yourself in a smoky situation.
- Emergency triangle:
This isn’t a recommendation – it’s the law.
- Reflective jacket:
A shiny jacket will keep you visible to other drivers in case you need to check something outside the cabin.
- Jumper cables:
Flat batteries are the main causes of breakdowns, so make sure you keep a set of jumper cables handy. Check out our cheat sheet for what to do if your car breaks down!
- Tow strap or tow rope:
If you do break down and you need help getting your car somewhere safe, you can’t guarantee that your saviour will have a tow rope to pull you along.
- Tyre sealant:
Nothing takes the wind out of your sails like a flat tyre, but having some tyre sealant on hand can give you a quick fix for a slow puncture.
A swiss army knife may not do it but if you don’t have space for a full set of tools, having a multipurpose tool like a leatherman can help you out of a tight squeeze.
- Duct tape:
MacGuyver best friend, duct tape can get you out of a host of situations. When there’s a hole in the boat, duct tape may mean the difference between sinking and swimming. And don’t forget – silence is golden but duct tape is silver. Because it has a thousand uses, from medical to mechanical.
Don’t be left in the dark, keep a flashlight somewhere in the car with you – some even plug into your car charger.
- Cell phone charger cable:
Keeping contact in an emergency can mean the difference between a quick solution and an uncomfortable situation. Keep that phone charged at all times, and make sure you never run out of airtime!
- Pen and paper:
Sometimes old-fashioned is more efficient – in an accident situation, trying to type and save important information is tricky. Write it down and transfer it to your phone later.
- Plastic poncho:
Because no one likes to get caught in the rain without a raincoat. Changing tyres and other running repairs can take time, and you’re guaranteed to be miserable if you have a flat AND you’re getting wet.
- Paper towels or wet wipes:
For those sticky situations.
- Space blanket:
Unless you’re a 20-something at a music festival, sleeping in your car probably doesn’t sound like the way you want to spend your Saturday night. But if you are forced to rough it for a night, or you need to keep someone warm, having a blanket can be the difference between life and death: cars are terrible at holding warmth, and in cold temperatures a space blanket is just what the doctor ordered.
- Drinking water:
Emergencies make for thirsty work – keep a few bottles stored somewhere out of direct sunlight.
Keep your energy up with some easy-to-store snacks that can be left in your car for months without going off.
- Road maps:
You never know where you’ll lose signal and Google Maps, so keep a hard copy map under the seat to get you to your destination in the middle of nowhere.
ATMs and car machines aren’t always available, so keep some paper on you at all times.
- Emergency documents:
In case you’re incapacitated, make sure your medical aid membership card and in-case-of-emergency contact details somewhere that a passerby can easily access them.