In a previous article, we highlighted 5 of the most important car checks before a long journey to get you to your destination safely and stress-free. So, once your car is ship-shape for your trip, our Scheme partners Kwik Fit have combined a list of must-have’s to pack that could help get you out of a jam or simply make the journey more enjoyable.
- Phone charger and car adapter: It goes without saying that you will probably be taking your mobile phone with you on your trip but just as important is a charger to make sure the battery doesn’t die when you need it most. This is particularly important if using the phone’s sat nav as the GPS will drain the battery more quickly. 12v power adapters which use the cigarette lighter port can be picked up cheaply allowing you to charge your handset on the go.
- Water & Snacks: We’re all susceptible to getting a bit peckish and thirsty on long journeys so having some food and drink in the car is a good idea, especially if you are travelling with kids. But also, if you are unlucky enough to be stuck in your car for a long time, like being caught in a major traffic jam or waiting for breakdown recovery, you and your passengers will be thankful of the extra nourishment.
- Wet Wipes & Tissues: If you are planning on stopping at some point during your journey to have a picnic, don’t forget to pack the wet wipes so you can clean up mucky fingers and spillages. It’s always good to have wipes available anyway to clean oily hands should you need to check under the bonnet for any reason.
Travelling with your dog?
If you are taking your dog with you on your trip, you should make special provisions to ensure your pet is comfortable. Bring plenty of bedding and make sure your dog has access to drinking water. Crank up the air conditioning or open the windows to keep them cool as dogs are prone to heat stroke and if you do get out of the vehicle, take your dog with you whenever possible – just as you need to stretch your legs on a long journey, so too do they.
- Pack for all weathers: You might have planned your trip for the hottest day of the year but it’s always best to be prepared and pack some extra clothing and blankets should the temperature drop when the sun goes down. Also, the British weather is unreliable at the best of times so it wouldn’t hurt to pack a brolly to help stay dry.
- Be seen: Should the worst happen and you have to pull up on the side of a busy road, pack a hi-vis vest for all the occupants of the vehicle so other road users can see them. A warning triangle is another helpful addition to your boot. Placing the triangle 45 metres away from the vehicle in the event of a breakdown will notify other road users that there is a hazard in the road.
- Spare screenwash: It’s important to top up your screenwash before you set off for your trip, but having a pre-prepared bottle spare in the boot of the car is a good idea so you can top this up whenever you need to. Did you know that drivers use more screenwash on clear, hot days than during the winter? That’s because dirt and insects cling to the windscreen and the lack of moisture means your windscreen wipers simply make things worse by smearing debris and blocking your view. Always use screenwash instead of plain water as the special solution breaks down tough dirt and has a low freezing point to prevent frozen pipes and hoses in the winter.
- In-car entertainment: If you are going to be in the car for a long time, think about how you can make the journey more enjoyable (and the time go quicker!) by bringing along your favourite CDs, music playlists or audio books. If you are taking the kids along too, make sure they have plenty to do in the back.
By now you’re probably set to hit the road. Wherever you are heading on your travels, be it for work or on holiday, always allow enough time to stop regularly on your journey. It’s incredibly dangerous to drive when tired so frequent rest stops can help keep you refreshed. If possible, share driving duties with someone else in the car so you can take a rest.
What to do if you break down?
Hopefully, with a bit of forward planning you will reach your destination without incident. But if you do suffer a breakdown, don’t worry, your Motability Scheme car includes breakdown assistance. Call RAC Motability Assist on 0800 73 111 73. The service aims to get someone out to you within 45 minutes.