We know that we all have our own must-have items that travel everywhere with us, whether it’s a lip balm, emergency £20 note or a pen, but there are some items that are essential for every driver when they’re on the road.

10 Things Every Driver Should Keep in Their Car

We’ve rounded up the ten essential items that all drivers should have in their cars for you below.

1. First Aid Kit

The first thing that we think is essential for all drivers to have in their car is a first aid kit, which can be as basic as some plasters and antiseptic wipes.

This is not only useful if you’re involved in a minor car accident, but also if you need medical supplies when out and about.  

You can personalise your first aid kit to include things you’re more likely to need as well as the basics. We recommend making sure that you have painkillers in the kit if they’re not provided, and you might also want to add antihistamines if you suffer from allergies or hay fever.

Please note that medicines and other medical supplies may have an expiry date on them. We recommend checking your first aid kit at least annually to ensure all the supplies are in date.

first aid kit for car

2. Winter Car Kit

We recommend that you keep a winter car kit, also known as a breakdown kit in the car with all the essentials you’ll need if you breakdown or are stranded. It’s useful even if you don’t have a full kit to have a few items that would usually be included, like a torch or pair of walking boots.

You can create your own and add more personal things like your favourite cereal bars, a blanket in case you get stranded, a winter hat and gloves and anything else that you think you’ll need in the winter months.

3. Bottle of Water

We recommend always keeping a bottle of water in your car.

Not only is this useful on hot summer days to keep you hydrated but can be used in an emergency to clean wounds or to top up your windscreen washer.

You should try to make sure there’s always an unopened bottle in the car and that this is changed fairly regularly to ensure the water is fresh.

4. Phone Charger

Today, we all rely heavily on our phones as more than a way to contact in an emergency. They can be used as a satnav to help you find your way, to search for nearby hotels or places to visit, to contact your breakdown cover provider and so much more, which is why we’ve included a phone charger as one of our 10 essential items. We recommend, if you’re able to, having a charger that fits into your 12v socket in the vehicle so you can charge in the car as well as one that plugs into a standard 3 pin socket for if you have to leave the vehicle.

5. Jumper Cables

Jumper cables are a useful thing to keep in the car in case you ever have a flat battery. Vehicles are particularly likely to get a flat battery if they are left unused for prolonged periods or during colder weather.

Please note that it is not recommended you use an electric vehicle to jump-start another car.

6. Warning Triangle

While it’s not something we like to dwell on we know that a car accident can happen to anyone, which is why it’s important to be prepared. We’ve included a warning triangle in our must-have 10 as it helps to notify other drivers of your vehicle if you’re blocking the road and prevent further accidents.

warning triangle for car

7. High-Vis Jacket

Just like the warning triangle a high-vis jacket or vest is needed if your vehicle breaks down or you’re involved in an accident. It makes you more visible to other drivers and reduces the risk of you being further injured.

It's recommended that you have one high vis jacket or vest for each occupant of the vehicle, but we know this isn't always practical.

8. De-icer / Ice Scraper

We recommend keeping a de-icer or ice scraper in your car all year round, not just during winter. This is because you never know when a frost might hit.

A scraper can also be used to remove other things like birdlime.

9. Sunglasses

We think that it’s important to keep a spare pair of sunglasses in your car as a bright sun can be very distracting when driving.

Although all cars come with a sun visor you can’t always get them to reach the right angle or height which is why we recommend keeping a pair of sunglasses within reach so that you can slip these on an prevent the sun from reducing your visibility.

10. Insurance and Registration Information

You should always keep a copy or a document with all the details of your insurance provider and registration information in the vehicle as well.

This is so that you have the details to hand if you are involved in an accident and you can prove ownership and insurance of the vehicle if asked by the police to do so.

insurance documents in car

Other Things That are Useful to Keep in the Car:

Your vehicle should be provided with either a spare wheel and the tools to fit it or an inflation kit as standard which is why we’ve not included these in our 10 must-haves. It is an essential item to have though and we recommend making sure that you have a usable spare tyre and the jack and other tools required to fit it or a functional inflation kit.

There are a few other things that didn’t make it into our top 10 but you might also find useful to keep in your car.

These include:

  • A car bin – either a small basket or even a carrier bag you can use to keep all rubbish in one easy to remove location.
  • Tissues – tissues can be used for a whole host of helpful tasks which is why it’s handy to keep a travel pack in your glovebox.
  • Pen and paper – a pen and pad are useful in a number of different situations that you might need to make notes in, including if you’re involved in an accident, giving yourself a reminder and many more.
  • Sun cream – in the UK it’s not often that we’re surprised with a sunnier day than expected but it can happen, which is why we find it handy to have a bottle of our favourite sunscreen in the car. Sun creams do have an expiry date on them so if it’s been a while since you last used it, we recommend checking the bottle.
  • A spare jumper or coat – it’s useful to have a spare jumper or coat in your boot in case you leave the house and find it’s colder than expected.
  • Emergency cash – you’ll find it easier to store a note somewhere out of view in case you need some emergency money to fill up or buy something essential on the road.

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