Most drivers will face a serious or emergency situation once or twice in their motoring lifetime.
Being prepared for these scenarios with a comprehensive roadside emergency kit will help ensure the safety of you, your passengers and other road users.
It will also give you peace of mind that you're ready for the unexpected.
Here are 10 must-have items for your car's emergency safety kit.
1. First aid kit
A high quality first aid kit is one of the most important pieces of emergency kit for your car.
Cheaper, mass-produced kits are seldom adequate for applying first aid in more serious situations.
When it comes to quality first aid kits for cars, look for one with heavy trauma dressing, a pair of trauma shears, antibiotic ointment, roller gauze, and smaller plasters.
To be properly prepared, choose a kit with a pressure dressing (or ‘Israeli bandage’, one step down from a tourniquet). Add ibuprofen, paracetamol, and aspirin as painkillers.
2. Smartphone with portable charger
This will ensure you can communicate with your breakdown provider, or get emergency help if required.
3. Back-up cash
This is a simple but important item to have in your roadside emergency kit.
Finding your debit/credit card has been declined, or that you’ve lost your wallet, is no fun. Having a supply of back-up cash will ensure you can buy fuel or something to eat in an emergency (at least until the economy becomes cashless!).
Hide it away somewhere like the back of your glove box. £50-£100 should be sufficient for most situations.
4. Tyre plug kit
A tyre plug kit can get you back on the road quickly.
This will include a tyre pressure gauge, valve core, lubricant, and needle-nose pliers to pull out the obstruction.
5. Jump leads
Choose a heavy-duty, high-quality set of jump leads with long, thick cables. This will ensure you can jump start your vehicle more quickly - and more safely (since thicker cables provide more wire for the current to pass through, reducing heat output).
Opting for a cheaper jump cable set with shorter cables will make a jump start much more difficult.
6. Warning triangle
A reflective warning triangle can be set up near your vehicle should it break down. It helps ensure other road users, recovery services, and emergency services can see you.
7. Food and water
If you find yourself stranded by the roadside, having some food and water will make the experience more bearable.
Nuts and chocolate have a long shelf life and will offer a much-needed energy boost.
A heavy-duty flashlight can help you deal with a flat tyre in the dark. It beats a smartphone light in that it can be easily set up and directed at any repair location (and you can save your phone battery for important calls).
9. Clothes and blankets
Carry a selection of warm clothes such as a jacket and a hat - as well as a blanket. These can be extremely useful in a breakdown situation, but also if the temperature drops and you or fellow passengers need some warm clothes.
Extra clothes are especially important to carry in winter months.
10. Snow removal tool and snow shovel
While there is no law compelling you to remove snow from your vehicle, the Highway Code states that you must be able to see clearly out of your windows before you begin any journey.
A snow/ice removal tool and shovel will make removing ice and snow much quicker and easier.