Ten things you need in your car if you’re stranded
As we wave goodbye to the glorious summer sunshine, and wake up instead to morning mist and fog-bound roads, it’s time to give some thought to what you would do if you found yourself stranded in your vehicle for several hours as a result of bad weather.
Motorists in the recent 100 plus vehicle pile-up in Kent, which many say was caused by people being caught out by the thick fog, were trapped in their cars for a long period while the carriageway was cleared. No doubt you will also remember the scenes last winter when motorists found themselves trapped in their vehicles as Britain experienced unusually heavy snow and ice. Each year, motorists find themselves stranded following vehicle breakdowns.
If you are setting off on a long journey, imagine yourself being stuck in your car for two hours or more, and ask yourself what you would find really useful in this situation.
Water – Stay hydrated
If you are stranded in a vehicle for any length of time, you will quickly become dehydrated. Make sure you take plenty of bottled water with you, and perhaps some fruit juice. It will be a judgement call on how much you will need to drink as you may not be able to get to a toilet for a number of hours, so it’s better to take small sips regularly rather than gulping down a whole two litre bottle in a short space of time.
Blankets – Stay warm
Keep one or two blankets in the boot. If you are stranded in cold weather, particularly in deep snow, you will only be able to run your car heater for short periods. Hypothermia can set in very quickly, so it is important that you keep your core body temperature up. Fleecy blankets will stave off the cold until help arrives.
Umbrella – Stay dry
You may have to wait outside your vehicle for safety reasons. Always carry a spare umbrella or two in the car, and preferably one of the large golfing ones
Mobile Phone – Keep in touch
Being stranded may make you late, and you will need to let people know where you are so they don’t worry unnecessarily. Make sure your mobile phone battery is fully charged before setting off on long journeys, or make sure you have an in-car charger with you. Use travel apps if you have a smartphone to keep up to date on travel news if you are stranded in motorway traffic. Remember, it is illegal to use your mobile phone whilst driving, so only use it when you are completely stationary and it is safe to do so. In the case of a breakdown, always have the telephone numbers of your breakdown or recovery service to hand if you are a member of one. You can also see if your nearest Trust My Garage member offers a recovery service from our website. Watch our video to see what to do in the event of a breakdown too, to ensure you are prepared.
Medical Kit and Medicines – Stay healthy
If you, or your passengers, have any medical conditions, it is vital that you take the necessary medicines with you on your journey. This might be inhalers for asthma, medicines for allergy sufferers, or other life-saving medicines. It is also a good idea to have a basic medical kit in your vehicle comprising bandages, plasters, sterile wipes, scissors, etc – this is a legal requirement in some European countries.
In-Car Entertainment – Keep the kids amused
If you are stranded on the motorway with children, they will need to be kept entertained. If you carry a selection of portable games, books, DVD player, hand held consoles in a “Travel Bag for Kids”, this will help to keep them occupied for a while. Remember to keep children well fed and watered, so if you’re on a long journey make sure you pack plenty of nutritious snacks and drinks.
Fire Extinguisher – Put out flames before they take hold
Not every motorist carries a fire extinguisher, but it is an important piece of equipment when you regularly take longer journeys. There are over 1,000 vehicle fires on UK roads every year. Being able to extinguish a car fire quickly before it takes hold might mean the difference between having small repairs to your car or having it written off completely.
Torch – Keep it light
If you are stranded at night a torch will be vital. You can also use this to signal your whereabouts if you are stranded in a remote area.
Most modern cars have equipment so that you can change a wheel. Familiarise yourself with this equipment and how to use it. For further information, see our video on changing a wheel (link).
Warning Signs – Alert others
A warning triangle will alert other motorists to the fact that your vehicle has broken down and they need to slow down. Again this is a legal requirement in many European countries.
These are the ten things we think might make your journey more bearable and safe if you are stranded. Can you think of any more? Let us know below.
You can find your nearest Trust My Garage member by entering your postcode on the Trust My Garage website, here.
Independent garages have access to the same technical information and training as main dealers and are fully equipped to service any type of vehicle to the highest standard, providing you with outstanding value for money.