Whether you drive a truck, a car, or ride a motorcycle, it is good to have a few things in your vehicle to help you get through unforeseen events and below are some suggestions.
David Kaggwa is a long distance driver. One day as he was driving a Toyota Fielder from Gulu to Kampala, one of the car tyres unfortunately got a puncture. It was hard to notice until he realised the speed was reducing even when he accelerated further. When he parked by the roadside to inspect the car, the left rear tyre had been pricked by a screw and the solution was rolling up his sleeves to replace the punctured tyre with the spare tyre.
After raising the car with the jack and unscrewing five nuts of the punctured tyre, he failed on the sixth because the size of the car spanner was big yet the sixth nut was smaller. “It was getting dark. I tried to stop other motorists for help but they could not stop. When I realised that I was not about to get help, I had to get back into the car with the other occupants. We drove slowly for about 15 kilometres to a fuel station where the tubeless tyre was repaired,” Kaggwa recalls.
Since that day, Kaggwa advises that you should always inspect your car before leaving home and make sure the spanner in your car trunk or boot matches with the nuts on your car rims.
Like fuel, a spare tyre is one of the most urgent things every motorist should have in their car. Sula Kilimani, a mechanic at Kisekka Market in Downtown Kampala, says that carrying a spare tyre in your car is one thing and having a functional one is another. “By a functional spare tyre, it means it should be inflated with the right tyre pressure to get the car moving after you have removed the punctured tyre when the incident finds you on the road,” Kilimani advises.
Kilimani stresses that the only way through which you can successfully change a car tyre if one of your tyres has got a puncture is when you have a car jack. “Without a car jack, it is impossible to lift the car to the required level to remove the damaged tyre and replace it with the spare tyre. You must know how it works so that you do not sustain body injuries in the process of changing a tyre,” Kilimani emphasises.
When you leave home when it is still dark, you may rush to office and forget to switch off your head or fog lights after parking. And the only time when you return to your car is probably in the evening when you are driving back home.
“If you forget your car lights, they will automatically drain the car battery of its power and this means the engine will not start. But when you have jump starter cables in your car, you can get help from a friend to help you start your engine,” Kilimani says.
When your fuel tank runs dry in the middle of your journey and you still have a distance to reach the nearest fuel station, an empty jerrican will help you collect fuel to refill your tank. Eric Amadi, a mechanic in Gaaba is however against the idea of carrying fuel in jerricans in your car because of the discomfort of the scent of fuel irrespective of whether it is diesel or petrol.
“Petrol is highly flammable and easily catches fire when exposed to high temperatures which could easily lead to a fire,” Amadi advises, adding that other things you should always have in your car include a fire extinguisher to put out fire in the unfortunate event that your engine catches fire.
According to bradsdeals, an online portal, safety items to have in your car include reflective triangles. The portal says reflective triangles ensure that night drivers can see you in case you have pulled off onto the road shoulder.
First Aid Kit
Dr Umarashid Gulooba, a general physician at Makerere University Business School Clinic, says carrying a first aid kit is important. He says it should have simple medication such as paracetamol, commonly known as panadol for headache.
“In absence of paracetamol tablets, carry an ointment to serve the same purpose as paracetamol. You should also have cotton wool and surgical spirit to rub against a wound in case you or any other car occupant sustains a body cut to keep germs at bay,” Gulooba advises, adding that your first aid kit should also contain a bandage in case you are involved in an accident and you sustain a simple fracture and a box of water.