For most of us, our dashboards are our dumping drawers in the car! One will find things like broken sunglasses, an odd Bollywood CD from the yesteryears, expired insurance policy papers, fragrance-lost potpourris or sometimes even blackened pocket combs (eww, but some of us can relate to it right?)
But within this mess, there are some essentials to stock in your dashboard:
Car papers? Check!
Your car papers are the most important documents and include your car registration certificate, pollution certificate, car manual (that big black diary?) as well as our favourite insurance papers (called Policy Schedule in our language). All will serve you well in case of an unfortunate event on the road (boom ☹).
Your registration papers have important details like your engine and chassis numbers, your car’s registration number etc. – all essential in case you need to make a car insurance claim.
The insurance schedule has all the necessary information about your policy in 2-3 pages and will be useful when cops ask “Insurance ke papers dikhao!” (In case you’ve opted for RSA, make a note of the emergency numbers, too.) You can also store the schedule you may have received over email as an attachment, as a ready file on your phone – yes, that’s legal!
As for your car manual, it is as important — it’ll bail you out of a sticky situation by providing you with basic how-to’s and information about your car. Ever wondered what those different lights that keep blinking near your odometer mean? Well, you’ll find all that in this holy grail!
In case you’ve been in an accident, the first order of action (after establishing that everyone involved is safe) is heading to the nearest police station to file an FIR. Apart from details of your car, this will also require details like your license number and/or personal identification. So, it’s always useful to keep a copy of these documents in your dashboard for easy access (in case you leave your wallet at home). Alternatively, just take a pictcha! of these and keep them in your phone gallery.
SOS: First-aid kit
Time to use those first-aid skills you learnt in school (yes, remember those kits made out of shoe boxes?)!
It helps to be prepared for any eventuality. So, keep a basic medical kit ready in your dashboard. Add these items to your checklist — antiseptic liquid and cream, gauze, dressing pads, band-aids, anti-burn gel, a painkiller, a lotion for stings and bites and any other specific medication you might deem necessary.
While you may have a tool-kit ready in your boot, you do need to keep certain essentials in your dashboard too. It could happen that you got rear-ended and your boot is jammed. Oops! Or, there could be an emergency situation where you’re locked inside your car. Claustrophobia!
So, first things first, throw in a hammer in your dashboard. In the unlikely, yet not impossible scenario of you having to break open the car window, this tool can be a life saver.
You’ll find specific hammers meant for breaking windows—some of these come equipped with a seatbelt cutter too. Also, keep a Swiss knife or multi-purpose tool—you never know when you might need it. (No, we are not making you violent, just playing safe!)
And if, by chance, you don’t have this, let us give you a wilder option: use your seat head-rest’s sharp ends to break free.
Check with your nearest workshop and keep some spare electrical fuses in your dashboard too.
Let there be light
Always have a pencil torch handy in your dashboard. This will be your guiding light, quite literally in case you’re stranded in the middle of the road at an odd hour. It’ll also be useful if you find yourself in a situation where your car requires a DIY fix.
Keep reflective warning lights in your car too—essential in case your car is stranded in the middle of a highway or any such risky location.
The missing pieces
Apart from these, stock up on basics like a smartphone charger, a bottle of water and some snacks like biscuits or dry fruits (remind yourself of the worst traffic jam you’ve got yourself into). Replenish these every once in a while to ensure that they’re fresh.