Want to survive an SA holiday road trip? Here's 12 items you'll need in an emergency

Janine Van der Post
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 BE PREPARED: If you're going on a road trip this holiday make sure you have a DIY car kit. Image: iStock ~ iStock

Cape Town - The long-awaited December/January holidays are upon us and roads across the country will be packed with visitors.

Whether you’re going on a long road trip down the coast, or up to the highlands, or even commuting to work since you've used your annual leave (we're sorry), it pays to be prepared on our roads.

We often take it for granted that disasters on the road can strike at anytime. 

Be prepared

You might run out of fuel - yes that still happens, even with modern cars – and it might just be on a deserted, dark road. Or, your cell phone has died and you're unable to make a much-needed call for help if your car decides it won't start.

READ: Vehicle checks: Don't take shortcuts before a long road trip

Unforeseen problems can leave you stranded along our roads. Be prepared to handle any situation with this handy do-it-yourself emergency car kit, that's always handy to keep in your boot.

Plan ahead

A bottle of water could be essential when you’re almost at the point of dehydration, and toilet paper could never be more of a luxury convenience item when nature calls in an emergency, we’ve listed some essential items you should carry in your vehicle at all times.

READ: 10 things you should know about the refreshed Chevrolet Trailblazer

You’ll need a few household items that will always serve a purpose in an emergency.

1. A sleeping bag 
2. Flashlight
3. First-aid kit
4. Multipurpose knife
5. Matches
6. Tinned food that won’t spoil or some energy bars
7. An old cellphone, fully charged
8. Toilet tissue (you'll thank us when nature calls)
9. Hand sanitiser
10. A change of clothes
11. Duct tape
12. Bottled water – which you should change often when not used


Flares, food, a change of clothes... what's in your emergency road-trip kit? Email us


How to pack

Take the sleeping bag and fold it open. Place the clothing flat, next to each other, then place smaller items (matches, flashlight, knife) on top of the clothing. Place the other items next to it and then roll-up the sleeping bag. 

If the sleeping bag is too bulky and takes up too much space, try using a smaller backpack or sling bag you could  place into the well of your spare wheel tyre.

Essential items

These additional items are vital when you’re in for a long wait for a rescue or road assistance to come along, but there are some other essential items to have  in your car when you might have to try and fix your car yourself just to get to the nearest town for help. Perhaps you’re driving an older vehicle and your car is not running at 100%

Make sure you have the following:

- Reflective triangle
-A pint of oil
-A 2-litre bottle of water in case your radiator springs a leak
-Spanners, especially sizes 10-13
-A screwdriver: Learning how to start your car with this tool is vital when your alternator is faulty.
-A tow rope
-Wheel spanner and jack
- A road map: If your car dies, your navigation system will be useless, along with your flat cell phone.

READ: Going on holiday in SA? Here's your definitive vehicle checklist