Eight essential items to keep in your car at all times

Plenty of us load our boots up with all manner of useful items in the winter time – terrified of being stranded on an icy road or in a rogue snowdrift. But as soon as the weather warms back up, it's out with the sturdy shoes and ice scrapers in a bid to keep our cars as minimalist as a trendy apartment.

But that's not necessarily the wisest move. Disaster can strike year round, and so motoring organisation IAM Roadsmart has come up with a list of eight things you should always keep in your car regardless of the time of year.

SEE ALSO: Top five winter driving tips

1. Reflective warning triangle

These are absolutely essential items, warning drivers to take caution if you're forced to stop at the side of the road. They're required by law if you're driving on the continent, and as they don't take up very much room, there's almost no excuse not to carry one.

2. Torch and batteries

If you've broken down or suffer a flat battery in the middle of the night, you'll need something to help you see what you're doing. Though mobile phones often have built-in torch functions, nothing compares to the bright beam of a proper flashlight.

3. Ice scraper

The weather in the UK can turn in an instant, and it's all too common to go from summer sun to a full-on frost overnight. Ice scrapers are easy to fling into a door bin and make getting away in the morning so much easier.

4. Fuel can

STOCK PHOTO  Metal jerry cans and fuel containers beside a garden shed. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday March, 29, 2012. See PA story INDUSTRY Tanker. Photo credit should read: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

If you run out of fuel, you'll find it difficult to push your car to the nearest fuel station – especially if you're on your own. It's far easier to keep a fuel can and simply walk there – though make sure it's empty, as any residue is a fire hazard.

5. Jump leads

Anybody who's suffered a flat battery will know how much of a faff it is trying to locate a set of jump cables. Keep a set in your boot at all times and you'll never have that problem again.

6. First aid kit

EMBARGOED UNTIL 14.00 Thursday 21st May.  Graham Cole who plays PC Stamp in The Bill and trainied as a St John Ambulance cadet helps St John Ambulance raise awareness that ignorance causes road deaths.  A new study by St John Ambulance and Norwich Union Direct demonstrates that first aid could save thousands of lives and have published a free first aid guide aimed at motorists.  They also recommend that all cars carry first aid kits and are lobbying  the government to get first aid questions included in the driving test.  Photo by Tony Harris/PA.

A well-stocked first aid kit is essential, as you never know if you'll need it or not. There's no need to go mad, but a selection of plasters, bandages, antiseptic wipes, ointment, allergy medication, sharp scissors, plastic gloves and a first-aid manual should be included.

7. Road atlas

Plenty of us rely on our phones or sat-navs to keep us moving, but what if you don't have signal or run out of battery? An up-to-date road atlas requires no batteries at all, and can get you just about anywhere in the country.

8. Mobile phone

Perhaps the most important of all, a mobile phone and portable charger can be lifesavers in times of disaster. Don't be tempted to use it while driving, but when stopped it can provide navigation, information and most useful of all a line of contact to loved ones or emergency services.

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