10 things to have in your car (but probably don’t)
We Automologists live in sunny tropical Malaysia, so we seldom have to worry about being stranded in our cars during bad weather or dire conditions. But we like to think of our cars as a second home, a place in which we can store emergency supplies that can bail us out of sticky situations.
And we’re not talking about the obvious necessities – eg. spare tyre, jack, wrench, jumper cables, flashlight, first aid kit, reflective triangle – but items that most of you probably don’t have in your cars…but should.
1. Swiss Army Knife or Multi-tool
This nifty gadget is handy in more emergency situations than you can imagine – the immediate ones being if your seat belt buckle is stuck or the car doors are jammed. You can cut yourself out of your seat belt with the knife or break glass using the centre punch. Or – and this really happened – our writer was at a party once and the host didn’t have a corkscrew to open the wine bottles. Now THAT was an emergency. Her Victorinox knife stashed in the glove compartment was swiftly extracted to do the job and prevented the party from absolute disaster.
2. Emergency stash of Cash
We like to keep enough cash for a tank-full of petrol. At least we will be able to drive home to get our forgotten wallets or to the ATM to withdraw some more.
3. Small Blanket
So, it never gets very cold when you’re outside here, but – another true story – when you’re on a date and the girl is feeling cold in, say, the cinema, you can whip out the blanket and then pull her close underneath. Girls like a man who is prepared. And another bonus is that no one can see what goes on under that sheath.
Also, the blanket doubles as a towel when you spill drinks in the car. Dab, don’t spread; upholstery cleaning costs an arm and a leg.
4. Pepper spray (especially for females)
Single female drivers are easy preys. Keep a pepper spray in the storage nook on the driver’s door panel, where you can quickly reach for it if an assailant tries to force your door open or breaks your window. We like something like this (pictured top), which is capable of multiple bursts (in case there’s more than one assailant) and contains dye to mark the a$$hole.
5. Non-perishable snacks and bottled water
We don’t need food and water for snowed-in situations (just lots of rain here), but what we experience almost each time we are on the road is unexpected traffic congestion. We’re grumpy enough being in bad traffic, we don’t need our bad mood to be exacerbated by hunger and thirst.
Plus, after you’re done drinking, you can pee into the bottle – another emergency ‘relieved’.
6. Small fire extinguisher
We still remember an incident that occurred some years back when a girl was trapped in a burning car and a passer-by tried desperately to find a fire extinguisher. Having one in the car could actually save lives and also prevent the fire from spreading and damaging the vehicle completely.
7. Power bank or a fully-charged old phone
For us, a dead phone is a calamity. Power banks are portable and has become inexpensive, so you can get a spare one just to keep in the car. Otherwise, it’s also prudent to keep a charged old phone in the car; you can still dial emergency numbers without a SIM card.
8. Hook hanger
This is not important for emergencies, but why all cars don’t yet come with this convenience, we don’t know. We can think of countless things that we prefer to have hung than on the car floor – groceries, takeaways, umbrella, flashlight, etc.
9. Feminine Hygiene Products, Aspirin and…er…Condoms, maybe.
Some things you just need NOW. But a word of caution about the condoms – don’t store them in your car if you park outdoors; they deteriorate in temperatures above 100°F or below 32°F.
10. Plastic bags
In Malaysia, Saturday’s are “no plastic bag days”, which also means we tend to forget when we have to bring reusable bags to the supermarket. It’s handy to have a few in the car.
These also double as ‘vomit bags’ when you are giving a drunk friend a lift back home; anyone who has experienced vomit in the car know that it is IMPOSSIBLE to eliminate the acrid stench without professional cleaning.