Car safety, things I pack to avoid catastrophe

Recently a blogging friend Sara-Jayne over "Keep up with the Jones Family" at had a terrible experience with her car. After a breakdown, late in the evening, on a busy motorway with no safe place for her to get away from traffic she found herself faced with a wait for the AA.

Due to the nature of the breakdown the lights on her car failed and she was left waiting in the increasingly dark night in a really dangerous location.

The AA did not arrive for hours and during that time she was understandably distressed.(Read more on her twitter here)

Her experience made me reassess my own car safety procedures.

what to pack to avoid catastrophe warning triangle

I carry a spare tyre, (not all cars come with one so it's worth checking!) and I know where my spare tyre is, and I check it is roadworthy at each MOT and service - that's important as newer cars do not need an MOT so it can escape being checked for several years.

I regularly check tyre pressures. If you've not done this it's a great idea to find out how to on a day you are not in a hurry and don't have an obviously soft tyre.

I make sure my screen wash is topped up - a seagull once crapped all over the windscreen, and it took a lot of water to clear it enough to see! (and don't ask me about the fox blood and guts incident)

I know where the dipstick is (jokes about him being a SAHD can be inserted here) and I can check the oil, and know where to add more too.

I have always carried a first aid kit and a 'life hammer' (the thing that can break car windows and slice through seat belts to release people in an emergency)

And after reading about Sara-Jayne and her horrible experience I'm investing in some hi-vis vests to keep in the boot of the car, in case we need to get out an walk anywhere if the car breaks down.

And also a warning triangle (they are essential when travelling in Europe anyway, and a great idea to give advanced warning if you have to stop the car unexpectedly)

I am even tempted to get a battery operated hazard light after thinking about electrical failures meaning the car lights could fail at night!

What do you carry in case of emergency? Have I missed anything? Or am I over prepared? What do you think?