Your car is like a third home to you (i.e if you consider your workplace as a second home) and a home needs necessities extending beyond what it usually has. Some of the things on this list you already have in your car, while others you can buy in traffic!
1. Windscreen mount for your smartphone: You may not have felt its need so far, but I can vouch that you will realise its importance once you have it installed in your car. Personally, I didn't have this in my car until last month. Having used it for quite some time now and realised how helpful it has been to me, I suggest that you should also get one for you.
With the phone securely placed between the clamps, accessing maps on the phone becomes easier, navigation a breeze and driving a more comfortable experience. Also as the phone is positioned within your easy reach, operating music player on it becomes easier when connected to your car's music system - either with the help of an AUX cable or via Bluetooth.
While there are many holders available, the most common design are the clip-on style holder and the holder with side grip arm. But please do ensure that the phone screen doesn't distract you while driving.
2. Car safety hammer with built-in seatbelt cutter: As emergencies don't come with advance warnings, it is always good to be prepared for them.
May you have a safe ride always, but if you ever get trapped in a car with jammed seat belts and inoperable windows, this handy tool could be a life saver. The hammer tips can break window glass and the blades inside it can help you cut seat belts.
While a standard model with these two functionalities would suffice the purpose, the market is flooded with different models loaded with capabilities including an emergency flashlight, digital pressure gauge and a torch.
A pocket knife can also come in handy.
3. Torch: Your smartphone may have a flashlight feature, but it's not wise to rely on your phone for that. When in need, your phone may possibly be running low on battery and with a flashlight on, it could die in a few minutes, leaving you in an even more difficult situation. And given how fast batteries in phones drain these days, even a phone with enough juice may not survive for as long as you would want it to. Therefore, it is better to have a stand alone torch in your car.
4. Snacks and Drinks: Well in Nigeria of today (i don't know of tomorrow o), this is probably the easiest to get, in as much you're driving on Nigerian roads. Just look out of your window and you will see people going about advertising Gala, la Casera, Pepsi, Coke I mean the choice is yours! This should probably not make it to the list as it is a no-brainer, and besides, it has been scientifically proven how it has really helped a lot of people endure Lagos Traffic!
5. An empty can or gallon for fuel (with a funnel): If your car ever runs out of petrol leaving you with no possibility of dragging it to the nearest petrol pump, or there's fuel scarcity like we usually have (and its been awhile we had that, thank God!) and there's queue from like here to Adamawa an empty can in your car could help you get out of the fix easier and faster.
6. Air compressor pump (electric or foot-powered): It comes in different formats and designs. Some of them even have a built-in air pressure gauge and/or a night flasher. It's advisable to keep it in your car because if the air pressure in your car tyres goes down, you will have a machine handy with you. An electric model is better than the mechanical model.
7. Towing cable: While you are always suggested to subscribe to a roadside assistance service(You know 'those people' on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, on 3rd Mainland bridge popping out with rickety/jalopy WW1 Jeeps, happy that the inevitable has happened) who should be the first one to be approached if ever your vehicle breaks down, having an alternate option is not a bad idea.
There could be times when you may not be able to reach out to the roadside assistance team (they might be on lunch breaks). In such situations, call a friend or a family member and get your car pulled with the help of a towing cable. Usually, these cables are 3-4 metre in length and come with the capacity of withstanding up to 5 tonnes of weight.
8. USB car charger and power bank: You should have a USB car charger (preferably with two ports) plugged into the cigarette lighter socket of your car so that your phone does not run out of battery when on the go.
If your car lacks the cigarette lighter receptacle (12V auxiliary power outlet), we advise you to keep a power bank in your car.
9. Bluetooth earpiece: A Bluetooth headset connected to your phone while driving makes it easier for you to disconnect calls and if absolutely necessary, to take emergency calls.
10. Multi-purpose car tray: It can be used for enjoying a meal in a car, to set up a temporary workstation in case of official emergencies. The advantage here is that it returns to the upright position against the seat back and barely occupies any space when not in use. This portable tray can be mounted to the steering wheel or car seats.
11. Tissue Box and wet tissues: These are very basic items and their mention here is no more than a reminder for you. Replace the old box/packet with the new one if there are not much left in it.
12. Sun shades for car windows: Summer is almost here and what else would you need to reduce the amount of sunlight from getting into the car and keep the heat levels lower. It generally comes in a pack of four and is one of the most common items sold in traffic.
13. Aux cable: This commonly used accessory is the easiest and cheapest way to play music on your phone through your car's speakers. Always buy a long cable so that people sitting in the back can also easily connect their phone to your car's audio system and operate comfortably - without leaning in. If your car's audio system comes with built-in Bluetooth support then you could give this a skip.
14. Car duster/cotton cloth: Keep one always in your car. You never know when and what you may have to clean in your car or on yourself.
15. Tubeless tyre puncture kit: You may not always have a mechanic around to repair your tyre punctures. In such situations, this kit could come handy. A tyre puncture kit usually comes with a rasp for hole widening and cleaning, a pack of rubber strips (gum sticks), and a needle tool to insert these strips. And that air compressor pump will also come in handy. I know a lot of you will dismiss this and say I'm not a mechanic!
16. Pepper spray: This might sound ridiculous but it might go along way in saving you of both your life and property. But please be careful, know when and in what situations to use it, after carefully surveying the environment/situation and "clearly seeing your exit point".
What other things did we forget to mention, that you feel should be on this list?