Thursday 07/09/17

If you rely on public transport, the only things you have to worry about are remembering the timetable, and having a valid ticket. Occasionally, you may have to deal with snap-strikes by transport workers. However, if you rely on a motor vehicle to get around, your responsibilities and concerns are a little more detailed. Before commencing any journey, you need to make sure you have sufficient petrol in your tank to complete your journey (or at least make it as far as the nearest petrol station), and making sure your tyres are properly inflated.

Beyond the obvious, there are a few other essential you must attend to, which will reduce potential problems on the road.

  • Auto club membership: in Australia, $110 per year.
  • Jerrycan 20 litre: If a 20 litre can is too heavy for you to safely lift and accurately pour, purchase 2 x 10 litre cans.
  • Funnel: Makes pouring petrol into your fuel tank a lot easier.
  • Basic toolkit: A very basic kit costs around $100.
  • Spare tyre: This needs to be regularly inspected to ensure it is inflated, and never removed from your car (i.e. to make room for more luggage).
  • Jack: To be examined at regular intervals to make sure it is in good working order.
  • LED torch: A headlamp will keep both of your hands free.
  • Spare charging cable for your current mobile phone (this cord permanently lives in your glovebox). Your phone is useless if the battery is flat.

I’ll be blunt. If you can’t afford to purchase the items in the above list, you can’t afford to be on the road. Be honest with yourself; if you can afford to go out drinking with your mates, you can afford to buy the items on this list. If you doubt the value of any of these items, think of them as insurance. If your car breaks down, every one of these items will help you resume your journey. A new sound system, or personalised number plates, will not.

Many years ago, I had the misfortune of traveling in a gas-guzzler that ran out of petrol on the Pacific Highway, halfway between Sydney and Newcastle….. at sunset. This situation was completely avoidable; if only the driver had listened to the repeated requests to fill up at any of the numerous petrol stations we’d passed on the way out of the city. I had a mobile phone we could use to call for help; but he wasn't a member of the auto club. Nor did he own a jerrycan. It is safe to assume I was not impressed.

If you have to buy a gift for an irresponsible younger sibling or friend, this list provides great gift ideas for all budgets (and far better options for an 18th or 21st birthday present than video games, or bottles of alcohol).

If you found the information in tonight’s blog useful, please share it with your friends and family on social media. The better prepared you are, the safer you’ll be on the road.