Wednesday, 01 April 2015 GMT
Author: Staveley Head
Whether you’re a trucker, courier or cabbie you will have essentials tools you should keep in your vehicle. That's exactly what this blog is about - the essentials items you should keep in your work vehicle.
Whether you’re a trucker, courier or cabbie you already know you’ve got to be prepared to get the job done. The roads are an unpredictable place, so it’s about more than arriving at your destination. It’s about staying safe on the way. After all, if you’re not driving, you’re not earning.
1. Mobile phone holder with chargers
Obviously, you’ve already got your phone. The days of payphones and roadside emergency phones are well behind us. Now though we need constant access to our mobiles in case of a change of plan. Get yourself a phone holder so you can see if your boss or a customer needs to reach you. Here's some key points:
- Charge is going to be important.
- You can get adapters for your vehicle’s cigarette lighter, but there are other options out there.
- You can get a USB charger so you could use your laptop or an internet café to charge the battery, or you just buy a portable battery power pack that’ll charge your mobile anywhere (just make sure that’s got energy too).
2. Life hammer and seatbelt cutter
Even the safest drivers can have accidents, so be prepared for the worst. A life hammer and seatbelt cutter are essential for getting you out of your motor in an accident. These life savers should be within easy reach in case of emergency.
3. Paper Maps
Smartphones have made physical maps pretty useless. You can now search by location, postcode and even place yourself on the map with GPS. So why bother having a paper map? Well, what happens if your phone gets lost or broken, or your signal or battery dies?
A map means you’ll still get to where you need to go, even if it does take a bit of effort. Before you leave, mark out some landmarks that will pop up on road signs in the areas you’ll be in. It’ll help you get your bearings a lot quicker.
This can come in handy in a number of situations. If your vehicle breaks down at night you’re going to need some light. It’s especially helpful if you need to abandon your vehicle for whatever reason.
You never know where and when you’ll break down, so don’t get caught out. A flashlight will also help you stand out if you need to trek down dark roads or flag down vehicles for assistance.
5. Safety equipment
Speaking of breaking down, it’s important to make sure the only thing that’ll need fixing is the vehicle. Sometimes your hazards aren’t going to be enough, so make sure you have a couple of hi-vis jackets and reflective cones or triangles so others can spot you on the side of the road.
6. For the snow
Snow can fall thick and fast, making roads treacherous very quickly. Plenty of motorists get caught out every year when this happens so carrying a few important items means you won’t be one of them. Get a hold of these (although you can probably give them a miss if you’re in Southern Italy during the summer):
- A piece of carpet, floor mat or even cat litter (!) for traction if a wheel skids on snow
- A blanket and warm clothes in case you’re stuck for a while
- Ice scraper
- Polish or Vaseline for rubber door seals to stop them freezing
- WD-40 for your locks so they don’t freeze up either
7. Water and food
Keeping some bottled water handy is great, especially for any mid-summer traffic jams (it’s important to keep yourself hydrated while driving and you can even top up the radiator with it). Getting dehydrated means your concentration will drop… which is not a good idea when you’re out on the road.
The same goes for food. Make sure you’re stocked up so that your stomach isn’t grumbling and you don’t go hungry due to any unexpected delays. Again, it’s good for your brain to have something in your belly when you’re driving.
8. First Aid Kit
Crashes aren’t the only way to get injured on a trip. Whether it’s cutting your hand on a steak knife or slamming your fingers in a door, it’s a good idea to have a few things in the car to look after yourself. Ensure you restock it after you use it.
9. Change of clothes
Ok so you’ve eaten that steak, but what happens if you get sauce all over your clothes when there’s a client waiting for you at the other end of your journey? Make sure you’ve got a spare set so that this isn’t a problem. It’s also good in case you get splattered with mud or soaked in the rain.
Have some wellies or boots on hand as well. You’re going to want some sturdy footwear if you have to face up against some thick snow or mud. Those new trainers aren’t going to cut it.
10. Pen and paper
Useful to jot down any new information – including changes of destination, directions, postcodes, phone numbers etc. It’s also going to be handy if you need to take down another driver’s details as well…!