Every vehicle should be equipped with a basic emergency kit. An incident can literally stop you in your tracks and can be brought about by any number of reasons;

  • Mechanical failure – engine problems, flat battery, flat tyre
  • Running out of fuel or oil
  • Traffic jams
  • Extreme weather

Many drivers know how to change a flat tyre, but with increasingly complex engines, the likelihood of successfully making any mechanical repairs yourself is small. Often the primary aim of an emergency kit is to keep you safe and comfortable until roadside recovery or assistance arrives to help you.

In some countries it’s a legal requirement to carry certain items in your vehicle, for example warning triangles. Before putting together your emergency kit, check what’s needed in the countries in which you’ll be travelling.

Emergency Vehicle Kit Checklist

To protect:

  • Charged mobile phone
  • Atlas
  • First Aid Kit
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Warning triangle
  • High visibility waterproof vest
  • Pepper spray for self-defence

To repair:

  • Spare tyre and jack
  • Booster cables
  • Tow rope
  • Spare fuses
  • Duct tape
  • Swiss Army knife or multi-tool
  • Snow shovel/windscreen scraper
  • Gloves & rags

For comfort:

  • Drinking water
  • Non-perishable snacks
  • Blanket
  • Torch and spare batteries
  • Clothes appropriate to the season

Must-have items

In your toolkit, you should have a number of items to keep you safe, some for basic repairs and others to keep you comfortable. In addition to basic items such as a charged mobile phone, the exact contents will depend on where you are travelling and the weather conditions.

Professional drivers on long haul journeys are likely to be far from home, and many miles from a depot or a truckstop. In this case, you may need to consider the possibility of an overnight stay and take along a sleeping bag . As a truck driver you have a duty of care to your vehicle. As the tool of your trade, you are unlikely to abandon it. So be sure to take along plenty of supplies such as food and drink.

Be prepared

Don’t leave it too late! Too often, drivers only think about what they need once they are involved in an incident. It’s really as simple as keeping a few spare items in your vehicle and this can make all the difference.

  1. Buy a ready-made emergency kit or put together your own, depending on your needs.
  2. Before setting off to a new country, check if there are any legal requirements or guidelines on what you should carry in your vehicle.
  3. Make regular checks:
    • For example, make sure the batteries in your torch have not gone flat.
    • Check that your spare tyre is inflated.
    • Remember to replace any items that you may have used.

Preventing an Emergency

Incidents on the road cannot be eliminated but we can all prepare for them. Hopefully you will never need to use your emergency kit, but if an incident does arise, isn’t it good to know that you’re prepared?

What steps can you take to avoid incidents on the road?

Mechanical Failure Always check your vehicle to identify any potential problems before you set off on a journey.
Accidents Minimise your chances of being involved in an accident by following our tips on driving responsibly and avoiding driving when tired.
Running out of fuel Check your fuel level before you leave and plan your journey so that you stop at fuelling stations. Fuel station locators such as Shell’s are available on many websites or as a downloadable App. Consider making a Journey Management Plan.

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Journey Management Planning

For every journey one should ask if the journey is actually necessary; the safest journey is the one not taken. If the journey is necessary it is advised to consider other, safer, transportation options than car travel. This may include train or bus transport.

Simple daily vehicle checks save lives

Driving can be a dangerous activity.  Road traffic accidents account for a staggering 1.24 million deaths per year globally.1   Aside from poor driving skills and road conditions, mechanical failure, poor vehicle maintenance and tyre failure/condition is a major contributing factor.