What’s in your glovebox? An old demo CD some guy gave you downtown, a few Taco Bell hot sauce packets, some napkins you use as tissues and a neglected manual?
Unfortunatly, things do go bad on the road from time to time and when they do you’re going to wish you had some more useful items at the ready. Stock up on these essentials and hit the road.
A Paper Map
It’s easy to overlook the importance of a paper map these days. You’ve got a navigation system, a standalone GPS and/or a smartphone in your pocket, right? But cold weather kills batteries, warm weather kills batteries, forgetting to charge kills batteries, etc… Don’t overlook the importance of having a hard copy map.
Tire Pressure Gauge
Gas station air pumps are handy for filling up tires quickly but they are notoriously inaccurate when it comes to gauging whether your tires are full. You don’t want to jump in your ride just to find out the tire pressure monitoring system is still yelling at you. An accurate, tough tire gauge is a must have. Plus this one glows in the dark!
Why is it that things tend to go bad at night, in the dark. Can you find that fuse that needs to be replaced with the lights out? Can you even find the fuse box? Sure you could use your smartphone flashlight but oil, grease and the prime opportunity to drop it in the engine bay makes a penlight a good choice. Plus you can hold it in your mouth so you can get to work with both hands.
A small box of spare fuses can be very helpful for quickly dealing with electrical issues on the road.
Autodocument Document Organizer
You have current registration and insurance cards in your car, right? There’s no quicker way to ensure a cop won’t be letting you off than making them wait while you tear your glove box or center console apart looking for your info. How about a pen and a pad of paper for writing down details about an accident before they fade from memory? You’d be surprised how quickly details start to fade in the high adrenaline environment of a car crash.
Ratchet Screwdriver & Bits
You probably don’t want a full toolkit in your car. Hex and tox bits and a good screwdriver can get a lot done in a car and elsewhere.
USB Car Charger
We are close to worthless these days without our phones. When yours is losing charge you’ll be happy to have a way to charge it. You don’t want to be stranded because you texted and browsed Reddit until your phone died and didn’t have a way to charge it on the ride home.
You can never go wrong with a multitool. Pliers, files, knives and all the things you need to pry, pull or cut your way to a on the road repair. Worst case scenario you just use it to cut up apples and salami after a long day hiking.
You’re in a suit on the way to a meeting and you need to reattach a line under the hood. A pair of gloves will save your hands, your look of cleanliness and your suit from unintentional hand-to-suit grime transfers.
Live near water? Hopefully, you’ll never end up fully submerged and trapped in your ride, but if you do have a plan. Ever seen how difficult modern autoglass is to break?
It’s damn near impossible without the right tool. The Life Hammer is specifically designed to break glass and the included seatbelt cutter could be what keeps you alive.
First Aid Kit
A basic first aid kit should contain adhesive bandages, tissues or cotton balls, a pain reliever like aspirin and backup prescription medicine — you’ll have to refresh those when it’s hot outside. You could put an ICE card in there, too. When a headache sets in 40 miles from Barstow on the road home from Vegas you’ll be glad you have it.
These things are life safers. Spilled gas on your hand, no problem. Changed a tire and now your hands are a mess, no biggie. That chili cheese dog from 40 miles back not sitting so well…. You’re covered
Wheel Lock Key
This one seems so obvious but I see people do it all the time. Don’t get stranded on the side of the road unable to change your flat because you have your wheel lock key nestled lovingly in your home autotool chest.