Upon acquiring a new vehicle, a common thought is to enhance its aesthetics by incorporating decorative items such as foot mats, seat covers, and steering wheel wraps. However, crucial in-car tools that could provide immense assistance in emergency situations are often neglected. In this article, we will explore these indispensables.
1. Hazard warning triangle
When purchasing a new vehicle, it is typically equipped with a hazard warning triangle as a standard feature. However, if you opt for a used car, it is critical to verify the presence of this tool. If it is absent, it is advisable to purchase one and store it in the trunk. In the event of a car breakdown or traffic accident, placing the hazard warning triangle behind your vehicle can alert trailing cars to avoid secondary collisions. This essential tool can be a lifesaver in emergency situations and must not be overlooked.
A hazard warning triangle is a safety device that is used in case of breakdowns or accidents to warn other drivers of the presence of your car and to prevent further accidents. In many countries, it is a legal requirement to carry a hazard warning triangle in your car.
If you experience any car trouble or are involved in an accident, you should place the warning triangle at a safe distance from your vehicle, usually about 50-100 meters behind it, in the direction of oncoming traffic. This will alert other drivers of the potential hazard and give them enough time to slow down or change lanes.
Always make sure to read the instructions that come with your warning triangle, and practice placing it before an emergency situation arises. Remember, the safety of you and other drivers is paramount.
2. Fire extinguisher
The inclusion of a fire extinguisher as a standard feature in vehicles is necessary to minimize potential fire-related losses. While the likelihood of spontaneous car combustion or a traffic accident causing a car fire is low, it is crucial to be prepared for such an event. In these instances, extinguishing small flames in their early stages significantly reduces damage and increases the chance of salvage. As such, the presence of a fire extinguisher in a vehicle can have a considerable impact in averting more significant consequences during emergencies.
A fire extinguisher is a safety device that can help you put out small fires before they become too big to control. It is recommended to keep a fire extinguisher in your car for emergency situations.
When selecting a fire extinguisher for your car, make sure it is rated for Class B and Class C fires, as these are the types of fires that are most likely to occur in vehicles. Class B fires are those that involve flammable liquids such as gasoline, oil, or diesel fuel, while Class C fires involve electrical equipment.
If you ever experience a fire in your car, remember the acronym P.A.S.S.:
- Pull the pin on the extinguisher
- Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire
- Squeeze the trigger while holding the extinguisher upright
- Sweep the nozzle from side to side until the fire is out
It’s important to note that a fire extinguisher is not a substitute for getting out of the vehicle and calling for emergency help if necessary. Always prioritize your safety first and use a fire extinguisher only if it is safe to do so.
3. Tow rope
The tow rope is a simple yet effective tool for vehicle rescue that can help extricate a car from a sticky situation. It boasts an array of optional specifications and is particularly useful for vehicles traveling outside the city for prolonged periods. As such, it is highly recommended to equip your vehicle with a tow rope, ready for any unforeseen circumstances.
A tow rope is a rope or cable used to tow a vehicle that has broken down or is stranded on the road. It is a useful accessory to keep in your car for emergency situations.
If you ever find yourself in a situation where your car cannot be moved on its own, a tow rope can be used to pull your car to a safer location or to a mechanic. It’s important to note that towing a car can be dangerous if not done correctly, so it’s always best to follow these safety tips:
- Make sure the tow rope is rated for the weight of your car.
- Both drivers should agree on hand signals and a speed before starting to tow.
- The tow rope should be attached securely to both vehicles in a way that minimizes the risk of the rope coming loose.
- Drive carefully and maintain a safe distance between the two vehicles while towing.
- Always brake gently and test the brakes before coming to a complete stop.
- If possible, use hazard lights or turn signals to alert other drivers on the road.
Remember to only use a tow rope in an emergency situation and do not attempt to tow a vehicle that is too heavy or has been damaged in a way that would make towing unsafe.
4. Booster cable
Booster cables are an indispensable tool for jump-starting a car with a dead battery. Connecting the batteries of other vehicles with the booster cable can revive a car engine that cannot start due to a depleted battery. In regions with frigid temperatures, such as Canada, the cold weather can render many car batteries inoperable. However, with a booster cable on hand, fellow Canadians can provide assistance and help restart your vehicle, rescuing you from the harsh snow and ice. It is pertinent to keep this essential item in your car at all times, especially during the winter season.
Booster cables, also known as jumper cables, are used to jump-start a dead battery in a car. It is a good idea to keep a set of booster cables in your car in case of emergency. Here’s how to use them:
- Park the car with the good battery close to the car with the dead battery. The cars should be facing each other, with the engines as close together as possible.
- Make sure both cars are turned off, and the emergency brakes are on.
- Hook up one end of the positive cable (usually red) to the dead car’s positive battery terminal. You can identify this easily as it has a “+” sign.
- Connect the other end of the positive cable to the good car’s positive battery terminal.
- Hook up one end of the negative cable (usually black or blue) to the good car’s negative battery terminal.
- Connect the other end of the negative cable to a metal surface on the dead car that is unpainted, such as a bolt.
- Start the good car and let it run for a minute or two.
- Try to start the dead car. If it doesn’t start, try letting the good car run for a longer period, or check the cables to make sure they are connected properly.
- Once the dead car starts, disconnect the cables in the reverse order of how they were connected.
Remember that a booster cable is not a substitute for a dead battery replacement.
5. Emergency hammer
Most modern vehicles are equipped with electrically powered windows, making it difficult to open the windows in case of emergency situations such as floods or power failures. In such instances, an emergency hammer can be used to break the glass windows’ corners and facilitate a quick escape. This handy tool can be a lifesaver during emergencies and must be at arm’s reach inside the car.
An emergency hammer, also commonly referred to as a safety hammer, is a must-have tool for your vehicle in case of emergency. It is a compact tool that has a sharp point and can be used to break a car’s window or cut through a seat belt quickly in case of an accident.
In the case of an accident, using an emergency hammer can be crucial in freeing yourself or others trapped in a vehicle. It can be used to break a car window in seconds to escape, or to free someone who is trapped by cutting through a jammed seat belt.
When purchasing an emergency hammer, look for one that is made from durable materials and has a pointed steel tip that can break through tempered glass windows. Some models may also come with additional features such as a built-in flashlight or a built-in seat belt cutter.
It is recommended to keep the emergency hammer in an accessible location in the car, such as the glove compartment or center console. Remember to read the instructions on the tool carefully and practice its use to be prepared in case of an emergency.
When a vehicle breakdown occurs at night, insufficient lighting makes on-site maintenance considerably challenging. To avoid such hindrances, it is advisable to equip a flashlight with a flashing alarm. This tool can assist in on-site maintenance, and in case of an emergency, the alarm can be activated to seek help from other drivers or passers-by. This flashlight is a simple yet effective tool that can provide aid during unforeseen circumstances, making it an essential accessory for any car owner.
Having an onboard toolbox in your vehicle is highly recommended. Even though most vehicles come with some basic tools, they may not be sufficient to resolve all issues. Therefore, having a personalized toolbox tailored to your needs can significantly aid in solving problems while on the road. This toolbox can house essential items such as pliers, a wrench, a screwdriver set, a tire pressure gauge, and other critical tools necessary for minor repairs. Having an onboard toolbox can be an ultimate time-saver in emergency situations and ensures that you will not be stranded.
8. The spare tire
Spare tires are often overlooked as they are not frequently used. However, this could lead to neglect of this crucial item. It is crucial to regularly check the air pressure of your spare tire to ensure that it retains its optimal performance when needed. The recommended tire pressure can usually be found in your car manual or on the spare tire itself. Neglecting the maintenance of the spare tire may result in severe consequences in case of a tire blowout or puncture. Therefore, it is essential to inspect and maintain your spare tire to maintain your safety while driving.