What should be in your car emergency kit?
9 May 2022
Whether you’re headed out on a long-haul road trip or dropping the kids off for a sleepover, a car emergency kit is handy to have. But what should be in it?
For your car
Your vehicle's user manual
They always say ‘work smarter, not harder’. So, just as you should read the instructions on your flat-pack furniture rather than thinking you can wing it, you should keep the user manual for your car readily accessible. The manual is a gold mine of information that could help you stay prepared, such as
- fluid amounts
- top-up times
- service intervals,
- and more.
Having a spare tyre is vital – but what about a car jack, tyre lever, pump and tyre gauge? These can help with simple fixes like a flat tyre, getting you back on the road quickly.
You can’t go wrong with making sure you have a tool kit, jumper leads, spare oil/water and coolant, glass cleaner and other maintenance tools ready to go in your car — all of which you can find the specific sizes for in your user manual.
These can be crucial. For example, keeping a fire extinguisher on hand could help you in an emergency, and be useful in helping others, too. Other items to consider include a high visibility vest, for use when operating outside of your vehicle, and a hazard triangle to draw the attention of other road users so they can avoid further accidents. This is also a friendly reminder to make sure your hazard lights are in working order, too!
Do you drive a car in Queensland? And do you know
all the Queensland road rules? You might be surprised!
Let’s take a look at some of the more forgotten road rules Queensland drivers sometimes get wrong.
When two lanes merge together without a dashed line, the driver at the rear
must give way to the vehicle at the front. If there are lane markings and your lane
comes to an end, you must give way to vehicles in the lane you are entering.
At a give way sign, always give way to other traffic
and only continue driving after you have checked it is safe to do so.
But there are other times you’ll need to give way
Like at a stop sign… When you’re doing a u-turn…
When you’re turning right across the path of oncoming traffic at a t-intersection….
You’re moving onto a road from a driveway, land next to a road or the side of the road…
Or when you’re at a crossroads and there are vehicles to your right.
Don’t cross double continuous lines…. Except when safely passing a cyclist.
If there is a single broken centre line, a broken centre line to the left of a continuous line,
or double broken centre lines, ….you can overtake when it’s safe to do so.
Don’t drive on a painted traffic island if it separates traffic moving in the same direction,
like where an on-ramp merges onto a motorway.... or if it’s surrounded by double continuous lines.
You can drive on painted traffic islands surrounded by single continuous lines
for up to 50 metres before enter a turning lane that begins immediately after the island,
or to enter or leave the road. Before entering a roundabout,
give way to all vehicles – including trams and bikes – that are already on the roundabout,
and use your indicator to tell other vehicles which direction you’re heading.
Check that the lane you want to exit is free of traffic, and then enter when there is a safe gap
And remember to indicate left to tell other drivers that you’re exiting the roundabout.
Give way to an emergency vehicle when its lights are flashing
or its alarm sounds, including at intersections. In Queensland, there isn’t an enforced speed
for passing emergency vehicles. But always safely slow down and move out of their way.
Drivers can also move onto the wrong side of the road or drive through a red traffic
light to get out of the way of an emergency vehicle, but only if it is safe to do so.
When doing a U-turn, give way to all other vehicles and pedestrians...
even if other vehicles have a ‘Give way’ sign or are turning right.
You must not perform a U-turn across a single or double continuous lines, across a double line that
is continuous on your side, across a painted island, or where there is a no U-turn sign.
To perform a U-turn you must have a clear view of approaching traffic
and be able to complete the turn without blocking the free movement of traffic.
Signal right and perform your
U-turn without disrupting other traffic. Remember: you can’t perform a U-turn over
a single continuous line… …a double line…
…or at a traffic lights, unless there is a ‘u-turn permitted’ sign..
Did you know that in Queensland, you must secure your vehicle if you’re moving more
than three metres away? Failing to do so could result in 20 penalty units!
Secure the windows and lock the doors. In Queensland,
‘securing your windows’ means it can’t be open more than five centimetres.
When travelling in the same direction as cyclists and passing,
motorists need to stay at least one metre away in a 60 kilometre per hour zone,
and one and a half metres away when the speed limit is above sixty.
If a cyclist moves to pass an obstacle, drivers should maintain this safe passing distance.
If a car doesn’t keep its distance, the driver could cop a $413 fine and this
could increase to $5500 if it goes to court! So only pass a cyclist if it’s safe to do so.
To pass a cyclist safely, you can drive over a painted island
Drive over centre lines, including double unbroken lines…
And straddle or cross a lane line on a multi-lane road
If a cyclist is in front of you and you want to turn left,
wait for the cyclist to turn left or continue straight, before turning left behind the cyclist.
If there’s a ‘Give way’ sign or Give way line,
you need to give way to any vehicle in, approaching or entering the intersection.
The same goes for a ‘Stop sign’ or ‘Stop line’, but you must also come
to a complete stop before giving way. If an oncoming vehicle is turning right,
they need to give way to you if you’re going straight ahead or turning left.
If you’re turning right and the vehicle opposite you is turning left
or going straight, they have right of way.
If you’re both turning right, you can both proceed when there’s no oncoming traffic
If an intersection is blocked, don’t enter it – only proceed if there’s enough
room for you to exit the intersection. The same goes for pedestrian crossings:
only proceed through a crossing if there’s enough room for you to cross it completely.
If a vehicle is making a U-turn, they must give way to you.
At T-intersections, you must give way to all vehicles on the continuous road.
In this interesting scenario, do you know who would proceed first?
Because the other three vehicles are facing give way or stop signs, white would go first. The other
vehicles would then give way to their right. So next would be yellow, green, and then red..
In Queensland motorists must keep a two second gap between them and the car in front. Don’t get
caught out if visiting rellies in New South Wales, where drivers must maintain a three-second gap.
So does Car Insurance cover you if you have an at-fault car accident,
like bumping into the rear of the car in front? It depends on your policy and your level of
cover. A Suncorp Comprehensive Car Insurance policy may provide cover for damage to your
vehicle in an accident, whether you’re at fault or not. For more details head to the
Suncorp Insurance website to get a quick online quote and read the Product Disclosure Statement.
Queenslanders love their beaches. But are they allowed to drive barefoot after
jumping into the car right after a swim? Legally, yes… but that doesn’t mean you
should. It’s recommended drivers wear tight-fitting shoes in order to have the best control.
We all know we can’t text and drive. But did you know you can’t
use your phone to check your maps? It’s illegal to hold your phone or have it resting
on any body part for any purpose while driving, even if the phone isn’t in use, or is turned off.
That still applies if you’re stopped in traffic or at a red light.
If the phone is in a pocket or pouch that is part of a driver’s clothing, they must not use it,
including operating it with voice control. Learner and P1 drivers under 25
can’t use hands-free, wireless headsets or a mobile’s loudspeaker function.
Passengers of learner and P1 provisional drivers are also banned from using a mobile
phone's loudspeaker function. So, if a parent is teaching their child who is on their L’s to drive,
they can’t answer a phone call that comes through on loudspeaker.
So when can you hold a phone? Well, only when you’re safely stopped,
like when you need to pay for something… …. To gain access to or from a road-related area,
like a carpark… … or to show police
a digital driver's licence or another document. You can also use your phone when safely parked.
Parked means stopped with the intention of staying at that place.
If you're an open or P2 licence holder, you’re allowed to touch your mobile phone
for hands-free use if it’s in a cradle attached to the vehicle, for things like accepting a call….
… using navigation apps… …or skipping a song.
Following these rules won’t only keep you and other road users safe – it’ll also mean
you’ll avoid a hefty fine of over a thousand dollars for using your mobile phone illegally!
If there are no speed limit signs, the default speed limit is 50 kilometres
an hour in built-up areas and 100 kilometres on roads in rural areas.
Drivers still need to adjust their speeds based on conditions if necessary.
Did you know you can cop a fine of up to two thousand six hundred and eleven dollars
for honking your horn for the wrong reason? That’s right – you can’t honk your horn unless
it’s to try and get animals off the road, to warn other road users that your vehicle is approaching,
or as part of an anti-theft or alcohol device. So whether it’s a friendly honk to say hello to
a friend passing by, or road rage, it isn’t legal, and could leave you out of pocket.
In Queensland, you aren’t allowed to sleep in your car unless you’re on a designated camping ground.
Unlike in some other states, in Queensland there cannot be opened alcohol in the car.
That means your passengers can’t sip on alcohol while you drive.
Of course, drivers also cannot consume alcohol, even if they’re under the limit.
Eating while driving isn’t technically illegal,
but you could be fined for driving without due care and attention.
Make sure to do your own research on Queensland’s road rules.
Accidents happen… even when we follow all the road safety rules.
That’s why it’s important to have insurance cover for your car.
Plus, did you know you can get $50 off a new Suncorp Comprehensive Car Insurance policy
when you quote and buy online?
Visit the Suncorp Insurance website to find out more.
Food & water
Non-perishable foods and bottled water are a must. Buying some non-perishable food items and a large water container for storage in your boot could be a life saver, especially if you’re travelling rurally. Whether it’s for cleaning wounds, spills, topping up fluids or drinking – make sure you’ve got water in the case of an emergency.
First aid kit
This might seem like a simple addition, but it’s often overlooked. Having a stocked and ready-to-go first aid kit is useful in every situation, regardless of whether it’s on the road or in a car park.
These days, we all rely on our smart phones. However, would you be able to navigate your surrounds if your phone was out of battery or the area you’re in has no phone coverage? This is why you should consider pre-planning and printing your journey, or making sure you have a Refidex in your vehicle prior to departing.
Even if you’re not travelling at night, a flashlight is a necessity. You could be travelling during the day, and end up on the roadside for longer than expected. Make sure you have a rechargeable, solar or crank battery-operated flashlight to get you by. A head torch is also useful at night, keeping your hands free.
Portable charger & spare batteries
While a fully charged portable charger is good to have for charging your phone, it’s also handy for charging other necessities. This can include flashlights, tablets, laptops and more. Batteries for a torch or battery-operated radio may also be handy.
Dry & warm utensils
Alongside warm clothing and blankets, keeping rain ponchos, an umbrella and instant heat packs could be the difference between a cold and wet roadside breakdown, and a dry and warm roadside tyre change.
Keeping spare cash in the car can be useful, but only if you’re able to keep it well hidden. In this day and age, we often revert to using our debit and credit cards for purchases – but how would you buy your necessities if a place didn’t have EFTPOS or mobile service?
This may seem redundant, as we use our phones for getting in touch. However, if your phone was dead – would you be able to cite important phone numbers of loved ones, roadside assistance lines or emergency services off the top of your head? Most likely not. Keep important numbers in your car in case of an emergency.
Ensure you're covered
Think about whether your vehicle is insured in case something does happen like an accident. With this in mind, consider adding Roadside Assist as an optional cover to your Comprehensive Car Insurance.
You’d be able to get help with issues like flat batteries#, flat tyres and emergency fuel delivery. With 24/7 unlimited service call-outs across Australia*^ and free tows to an accredited repairer up to 20kms from the breakdown location, you can breathe easy knowing Suncorp Insurance can help get you back on the road.
# 2 battery restart and replacement assistance.
*Terms and conditions apply. ^ There is no cover for Suncorp Roadside Assist during the first 24 hours of adding the cover. For full coverage details, please see the Terms and Conditions.
- What is roadside assistance and why you need it
- How to prepare for an outback road trip
- Your guide to car maintenance and servicing
Insurance is issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as Suncorp Insurance. Information provided is general advice only and has been prepared without taking into account any person's particular objectives, financial situation or needs so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it. Please read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement and Target Market Determination before making any decision regarding this product. Suncorp Roadside Assist is provided by Digicall Assist Pty Ltd. For full coverage details, please see the Suncorp Insurance Roadside Assist Terms and Conditions.