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Gear-up your car emergency kit
Whether you’re commuting to work, travelling around town, or off on an adventure-packed road trip, you need to be prepared for roadside emergencies. And of course gotU’s roadside assistance services are there 24/7 to help if any mishaps do happen.
However if you’re in an area that we’re not, and you break down in the middle of nowhere with a dead phone and no GPS coverage? Get prepped.
Do you know how to fix a flat tyre? Your dad might, however these days most of us wouldn’t have a clue how to even get started, and flats are one of the most common issues people encounter on the road. Calling for roadside assistance is all well and good (well, very good!), but if you don’t have a spare tyre in the boot, you’ve got an even bigger problem.
Tyres have shelf lives like everything else, so make sure you check your spare periodically for cracking (or get your local mechanic to do it when you get your car serviced). And it’s a good idea to keep your current tyres well inflated at all times as well. It will improve handling, promote their longevity and increase your car’s overall fuel economy. Make a habit of doing it regularly when you’re at the servo topping up the fuel tank.
Flat batteries happen, and it only takes an interior light to be left on for your car to be on the stationary road to nowhere. Keep a set of jumper leads in the boot. If you’re in an area where roadside assistance isn’t available, at least you’ve got a backup.
If you run out of fuel (oops, you didn’t see that flashing fuel gauge light), an empty petrol can in the boot can be a life saver. That way if you’re stuck in an area where you can’t get immediate roadside assistance, you can at least leg it to a nearby service station for a top-up.
Have some radiator coolant and a bottle of oil on hand as well and keep your insurance provider’s details and the number of your local mechanic in the glove box along with your car manual. That way if things get a tad boring while you’re waiting for roadside assistance, you’ve at least got a little light reading to keep you occupied.
A comfort kit
Firstly, a no-brainer – you need water. Regardless of whether you’re just stuck in peak-hour traffic (which, let’s face it, can sometimes be for lengthy amounts of time), or you’re off on an out-of-town road trip, you need to keep the fluids up. Pack a refillable bottle, but also keep a few pre-packaged numbers in the car for emergencies.
Snack wise? If you’re travelling long distances, pack snacks that are low in fat (especially if you’re prone to car sickness), and will keep you full for a bit. Yes, roadhouse food is tasty, but it’s a tad unhealthy, so opt for better-for-you stuff like hard-boiled eggs, protein bars, trail mixes, crackers and fresh nibbles like grapes and carrot sticks.
Chuck in a roll of paper towels (handy for spills of all sorts), some face wipes (refreshing!) and of course a bog roll or tissues in case nature calls (zip lock bags may also be a wise addition for those potty-stop moments). A blanket’s always ideal for mid-trip picnics (or to warm up roadside), a towel for sweat removal, and sunscreen and a hat for slip, slop, slapping on hot days. And if the weather turns nasty, a rainproof jacket and an umbrella are savvy boot additions.
Sounds a little dramatic, but if you’re travelling to a remote location, you need to be prepared with some serious gear in case things turn pear-shaped. First up, first aid. St John Ambulance stocks some compact kits, but creating your own is not at all tricky (and it’s cheaper). Include things like gauge and adhesive bandages, cloth tape, absorbent pads, antiseptic wipes, burn ointment, anti-mozzie cream, hand sanitiser, disposable gloves, a cold pack, scissors, tweezers and safety pins.
On the medication side, consider packing pain relief (both aspirin and ibuprofen), hay fever tablets, anti-runs medication, and of course a first aid manual for easy reference if you’re faced with a stressful situation.
If you really want to go the hard yards, pack a set of emergency markers or reflective flags in case you break down, and considering investing in a fire extinguisher that can handle a variety of flare-ups.
Other handy miscellaneous stuff includes a thermal blanket, a torch, a multi-tool, matches, a notepad and pen, a change of clothes (including warm stuff like gloves), and a small backpack in case you need to leave the car for any length of time.
Of course you’ll have your mobile (and your charger), but if you’re driving into the middle of nowhere, sat phones are also pretty handy. Set all your important numbers to speed dial, make sure your apps are up to date (and of course that includes the gotU app), and have an old-fashioned street map directory on board as well in case you lose GPS capacity or your phone carks it.
Faced with a bit of an emergency? We’ve gotU. Just pay as you go … as you need it!
* Please check our coverage page to see if we service your area.