Be prepared: what should be in your boot?

Every Boy-Scout, Brownie and disgruntled Lion King character knows that you should always be prepared. It’s the same with driving – do you expect the unexpected? Take a look at our checklist to see if your boot is stocked with everything you need to hit the road.

Everyday items

Don’t fill your car up with clutter – things rolling around will only distract you – but there are some things that you should keep in your car as standard:

Mobile phone – Most people don’t leave home without them, but having one in the car can really help get you out of any tight spots.

Torch – Don’t count on your car to provide the light – you’ll run the battery down! Have a torch tucked away and a torch app on your phone for a back-up. Check that the torch works when you check your regular car checks to be on the safe side.

Map – Yes, we know it’s old fashioned but having an up-to-date map can help you and other people in an emergency (and if your sat nav isn’t up to scratch).

First aid kit – It’s always a good idea to have a first aid kit, in some countries it’s even law, so take it with you on holiday (there are some other things you should know about driving abroad too, so do some research before you go).

Sun glasses – Even in the height of winter, sunglasses can be a life saver as they’ll prevent you from being dazzled by the ice and slow.

Be prepared for a repair!

Unexpected breakdowns are the worst, but sometimes you might be able to help yourself rather than calling out a recovery service. Here’s what you need:

Tyre kit – A good spare tyre, with a jack and a tyre iron is a must. A tyre inflator and sealer can plug a leak so you don’t have to replace the tyre there on the side of the road. A tyre pressure gauge is also a good shout.

Car manual – Keep this tucked away in your car for the rainy day on which it’s almost inevitable you’ll break down. Combined with your car repair information (a business card, number for AAA), this will get you back on the road in no time.

Jumper cables – Sometimes your car may need a little kick to get going, especially on a cold morning, so stash these in the back of your car in case you, or a friend, needs a handy jump start.

Reflective vest – If you do break down, you want to be seen so make sure this is in your trusty pack. If you can fit a warning triangle into your car, that would be great too!

Have fun in the sun!

It makes sense that for different seasons you’ll need different things, and with the sunshine sporadically making appearances across the UK, it would be best to put these items in your car alongside everything else listed so far.

Fluids – Dehydration is common yet preventable on hot days, so keep a sealed bottle of water in your car just in case.

Sun cream – Even when you’re in a car you can get burned. An open window, sunroof or just the windscreen can let the sun in. Protect yourself with some SPF 20 or above.

Hat – This is a must for drivers of convertible cars. On a hot sunny day, leaving your head exposed is a quick route to heat stroke. Just make sure your trusty hat doesn’t fly away in the wind!

Change of clothes – Just in case you go to the seaside and decide to have a quick dip, it’s always best to have a change of clothes in the car. A towel, beach ball and a bucket and spade may not go amiss either!

You see? Just by planning that little bit in advance you can be prepared for most eventualities, without even taking up too much room in the boot!

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