We all love driving, be it for the sheer pleasure itself, or to get us to our favored destinations, and to bring us closer to family, friends or our dreams. But accidents, even if we try our best to avoid them, can and will happen along the way. So it is best to be armed and ready for such eventualities. Aside from the basic hand tools and early-warning devices like reflective triangles, here are some items which you should think about having in your car at all times.
1) High-power LED flashlight. A flashlight is one of those all-around, multi-use tools. From poking about underneath the hood to check your engine to locating dropped/lost items underneath the seat or your car, it is a must-have. The new generation of LED flashlights are preferred: they are far brighter, consume far less energy and pretty much last forever. Stump up for an all-weather, sealed LED flashlight so you can use it in the rain. In the event of your vehicle being stranded, you can use the flashlight to call for attention/help or to alert other motorists away from your vehicle by waving the flashlight on the road surface just ahead or behind your vehicle. Cost: P250-P500 each
2) Battery jumper cables. It happens to the best of us: You accidentally leave your headlights on when rushing out in the rain in an open carpark at night, or leave the interior dome lights on when parked in a basement carport because you were fumbling with your personal effects prior to leaving the car. A battery jumper cable can get your car running, with the help of a friendly boost from a fellow motorist. Or you can provide the boost to other motorists who are stranded. When buying one, make sure that it has the thickest possible gauge wire so it can handle more electrical load and heat, preventing problems in jump-starting cars with big, powerful batteries and complicated electrical systems, which are the standard in today’s crop of high-performance and/or luxury vehicles. Cost: P1,000-1,500 per set
3) Towing-rope/cables. Again, one of those small but simple must-haves in your car. Attaching a two-rope to your vehicle’s tow-hook is sometimes the better option to get it out of a tight spot, such as when you inadvertently slid off the road and onto a deep open canal, or onto a muddy surface. The tow-rope’s slightly flexible nature means it won’t do greater damage to your vehicle’s exterior, i.e. bumpers and fenders. For short, impromptu tow trips, such as vehicle recovery on a track-day or on the offroad trails, the tow-rope is a must-have. Just don’t use the two-rope when pulling another vehicle for long distances. You might not be properly trained or your vehicle isn’t designed to tow others for long distances, which can cause your own to overheat and cause further damage. Cost: P1,000-P2,000 for a 10-feet towing rope/cable
4) High-visibility reflective vest. A high-visibility vest is mandatory in all cars in almost all European Union countries, as well as in other developed countries. The high-visibility vest helps alert other motorists to see you much sooner and much further, when for example you are doing a simple roadside repair such as replacing a flat tire. Every time you step out of your car, regardless of day or night (but especially at night), always put it on so that you are seen by everyone else. Good partner to have with your LED flashlight. Cost: P350-P500
5) Fire extinguisher. Admittedly, this is one piece of equipment that takes some training and practice to use effectively, but if your car is old, or you drive on the track or serious offroad trails regularly, or your vehicle is heavily modified, a car extinguisher is to good to have on board. Get at least a 1-kg container, one that can put out fuel and chemical fires—Your car utilizes at least five different types of chemical fluids. Mount it within easy reach, such as below the driver’s seat, front-passenger seat or just behind the center console. Certain types of fire extinguishers are better too, such as Halotron I-type fire extinguishers which can put out fuel- and hydraulic fluid-type fires and is easier to use thanks to its composition. This is pricey, too, at about P3,800 for a 1-gallon container. But it is worth the cost if you want to protect your car. As a plus side, Halotron I-type extinguishers seem to last pretty much forever and can be reused unlike other fire extinguishers which, once opened and used even if not completely, cannot be reused anymore unless filled up completely once again.
With these items in your car, you should be and feel safer to drive out (assuming your car is in good working order, and in tip-top shape and tune).