Driving is the most widespread mode of transportation globally, and in the US, there are an estimated 227.5 million registered drivers. Private cars are the preferred option because they provide more independence and mobility for users over every other transport mode. Regardless of your type of car, there are certain vital things that you will need for maintenance, safety, convenience, and legal reasons. Are you curious about what these items are? Take a look at our list below.
- Spare tire
Debris like metal scraps, broken glass, and nails are common on roads. It is not surprising that research reveals about 27% of all roadside emergencies are tire-related, with US drivers dealing with about seven tire punctures every second! Since tire issues are prevalent, you should have a spare tire, so you are prepared. Should you encounter any tire problems while driving, your spare can safely get you home or a nearby auto shop for repairs. Also, many spare tires are typically lighter and smaller than your standard car wheels, so you can easily carry one around while driving without adding extra weight to your car.
- First-aid kit
Although many car first-aid kits will be occasionally used only for minor injuries like cuts and scrapes, you must not compromise on the contents of your first aid kid when stocking one. A well-stocked car first-aid kit may be the difference between life and death in case of any medical emergency involving you or another driver.
The American Red Cross recommends a kit containing items like; an emergency blanket, motion sickness tablets, adhesive bandages, aspirin, cold packs, sterile gauze pads, tweezers, antiseptic wash, antibiotic ointment, gloves, scissors, among others. Invest in the right car first aid kit as insurance for emergencies to guarantee personal well-being and others’ safety while on the road.
- Auto insurance
Statistically, you are most likely to be involved in at least one car accident in your lifetime, so car insurance coverage is mandatory for all drivers. All states require proof of insurance or financial responsibility as a qualification to drive legally, and so you must invest in an excellent auto insurance policy to satisfy this requirement. Various car insurance policies cover you for a broad range of potential post-accident developments.
Third-party or liability auto insurance insures you against damages you cause to others or their property. Personal injury protection will absorb part of your medical expenses after an accident, depending on the extent of your coverage. Comprehensive coverage will be vital in case of theft, vandalism, fire, etc. Consequently, consider prioritizing auto insurance to ensure that you have coverage against a broad range of potential road mishaps.
- A reliable mechanic
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that there are about 17,250 daily car crashes in the US. Cars are prone to accidents, and therefore having a good repair shop to turn to is necessary for every driver. Besides repairs, mechanics also specialize in diagnosing the cause of minor car troubles like mysterious sounds.
These minor issues sometimes represent some more extensive problem that needs to be addressed, and a good mechanic will be able to diagnose and either replace or repair the faulty parts. A reliable mechanic may be your protection from accidents because he or she ensures you have a reliable car that is safe and roadworthy, so you should find one to handle all your car issues.
- Jump-starter kits
Malfunctioning car batteries cause cars to often break down, especially in cold weather, and you will require a jump-start to get going. Helpful by-passers may not always be easily found to help you jump- start your car, so it would help if you carry personal jumper cables and an emergency battery booster for this task. Learn how to correctly jump-start your battery with jumper cables if you do not already know how to.
Alternatively, battery packs are more convenient and safer substitutes for the traditional jump-start method of using cables with clamps. Many battery packs also function as power banks, capable of charging phones and laptops, so they are definitely worth your investment. Therefore, it would help if you always have a jump-start kit to save yourself the frustration and agony that comes with being stranded in the middle of nowhere.
- License and registration
A valid drivers’ license and vehicle registration are vital things you should have as a driver. A driver’s license can be acquired in weeks or months using a qualified instructor. The test is given in two parts. There is a practical part and a theory part. You must obtain a pass grade in both aspects of driving before you can legally drive on the roads. Take this Illinois practice test before your final exam.
Federal law requires you to register your vehicle before driving it; your license plate is material proof that you have complied with the legal requirements for registering cars. State laws also require you to have a valid drivers’ license, without which you must not drive.
A drivers’ license is proof that you have undergone the necessary training that makes you qualified to operate your vehicle. Fines and possible jail time are the penalties reserved for violators of these basic requirements, so it would be best to have valid copies of all these documents to prevent run-ins with the law.
- Emergency tools
These are miscellaneous essentials that will help you out of any mishaps you are likely to encounter while driving. A foldable snow shovel and an ice scraper will be ideal during winter to help free your vehicle if it gets stuck in the snow. Tire inflators and sealants will help you patch minor tears in your tire to at least get you to an auto repair shop safely. A seatbelt cutter and window breaker can save your life in the event of any emergency that requires an escape.
Fire extinguishers may save your vehicle from destruction if any fire breaks out while driving. Other items multiple road safety experts recommend having include; flare or hazard cones, flashlights, duct tape, a jack and lug wrench screwdrivers, maps, car manual, reflective triangles, and a high-visibility jacket, among others. Consequently, you should invest in assembling a stash of quality emergency tools you can turn to for assistance with everyday problems you can encounter while on the road.
Photo Credit: Dodge