Switch from Mom to Macgyver in an instant when your car lets you down – or you’re faced with a roadside emergency.
Between the school run, rushing to work, running errands or taking the kids to a playdate, you spend plenty of time in your car, and that means dealing with unexpected roadside emergencies – either for yourself or for other road users. There’s only so much you can do in a breakdown or emergency, but we’ve picked four essentials we think should always be at hand in your vehicle to help get you – and others – out of trouble.
It seems to go without saying that you should have a spare tyre – because obviously it’s part of your car’s kit. But there’s nothing worse than having a puncture or blowout and turning to your spare, only to find that it’s flat or perished beyond use – or even not there at all! Check your spare tyre’s pressure every time you top up the other four tyres and know where to find it (it could be under your car!) in case of emergency. Of course, if your car comes fitted with run-flat tyres which allow you to drive a short distance with a puncture, you may not have a spare – but do you know whether they’re run-flats or regular tyres? And are your jack and toolkit in the car, or have the kids been playing ‘mechanic’ again?
First Aid Kit
Vital for not only roadside emergencies, but also sports days, play dates and trips to the shops, a well-stocked and constantly-updated first aid kit is a must-have for any vehicle. You can buy pre-packaged kits from chemists and even some supermarkets, order them online from first aid providers or build your own to include over-the-counter medicines, hand sanitisers, bandages and even a thermometer. If you’re purchasing one, make sure it includes the things you’ll need, in it – many standard ones won’t include things like child-friendly painkillers, for example. And be sure to keep an eye on expiry dates and state of the products in your kit – some items don’t cope well with being locked in hot cars all day.
Not too long ago, you used to have to carry a set of jumper cables around – and then beg a stranger to help you – in the event that your car battery went flat. Thankfully, we now live in a world where compact, portable and powerful batteries are an everyday convenience, and you can keep a backup car jump-starter with you all the time. Of course, you’ll need to ensure that its always charged – but when it is, jump-starting your car is as easy as connecting the cables to your car battery terminals and hitting a button. It’ll also charge mobile phones for emergency calls and many come equipped with lights or flashing SOS signals to help you out, in a bind.
An emergency escape tool could be a life-saver – for you or the victims of an accident you come across. The sharp point will help shatter windows (careful of flying glass) and the cutter will tear through seatbelts to help free trapped occupants. Obviously, keeping it in your boot won’t help you if you need it an emergency of your own… If you don’t have a tool handy to break windows, pull out your car headrests and use the bars to break out – it’s actually what they’re designed for.
Volvo Cars come with a host of standard features to help in case of emergency – including built-in tracking devices and 24/7/365 roadside assistance – so you’re not left in the lurch in the unlikely event of something going wrong. They’re one of the sponsors who have added some amazing prizes to the pool worth over R200 000 in the www.mothers-day.co.za competition. Enter now!