As a delivery driver, your van will be in use a lot more than the average driver and staying prepared is one of the best practices to help keep you protected on the road. Every vehicle should contain emergency equipment, and it should ideally be checked every six months to keep it up to date. But what should your supply kit include?
We have created this practical checklist so that whether you are caught in problematic weather, or your van breaks down, these emergency equipment must-haves will ensure that you are as equipped as possible to deal with the situation at hand.
Emergency Contacts & Documentation
It is common for drivers to store contact numbers on their phone and insurance documents at home or in a digital format. However, in an emergency, you may not have access to your phone, or it may have run out of battery. That is why we suggest keeping a written copy of this information in your glove box. Include contact details for your family, important business contacts, insurance provider, breakdown cover provider and a towing company. It is also worth having a printed copy of your insurance and breakdown policies to refer to if necessary.
Storing a properly inflated spare tyre, wheel wrench, and an appropriately sized tripod jack in your van for emergencies is invaluable if you were to get a flat tyre or slow puncture on your journey. Learning how to change a tyre yourself will save you on breakdown call out charges and help you get on the road quicker, allowing you to get back to work. Alternatively, if you aren’t confident enough to change it yourself, your breakdown policy provider would be able to come out to change the wheel for you.
Regardless of your van’s age, all vehicles can get a flat or dead battery at any time. Having a jumper cable set will help get your battery functional again, getting you on the move quickly and back to your deliveries. Simply ask for assistance from a nearby vehicle or your breakdown cover provider, and you’ll be on the road again in no time.
Torch & Extra Batteries
While most drivers delivery hours may be during daylight in the summer, during winter, you are likely to be preparing for your day before the sun comes up and making deliveries as the nights draw in. Having a working torch and extra batteries or a wind-up torch is one of our emergency equipment essentials.
Imagine that your van broke down in a non-lit area on a dark evening with a flat tyre. Keeping the location well-lit can help you identify an issue on your vehicle and help keep you safe in what could potentially be a rather dangerous road situation.
In many European countries, a reflective warning sign is a legal requirement, and it is used to help other vehicles avoid collisions with yours by warning them that you have broken down. In the event of a breakdown, you should ideally have two reflective triangles, which should be placed at the front and rear of your van.
These solid, reflective signs should be placed at least 45 metres (147 feet) behind your vehicle but should never be used on a motorway.
If you need to leave your van for any reason, and it is dusk or night time, it is vital that you wear a high visibility jacket to be seen by other motorists. While this won’t keep you warm, it could save your life and can easily go over a warm jumper.
First Aid Kit
Having a first aid kit in your van is good practice year-round. It should include sterile cleansing wipes, wash proof plasters, trauma dressings/bandages, burn dressings, tape, scissors, face shield, non-latex Nitrile gloves, antiseptic cream, instant cold compresses and a foil blanket. Make sure you keep your first aid kit well-stocked at all times.
Food & Water
A supply of food and water should be kept in your van in case of emergencies. If you were to breakdown, there is the chance that you could be left roadside for some time while you wait for the recovery vehicle. While that is bound to make you frustrated in itself, throw in a bit of hunger, and this could become an unbearable situation. Keep a mix of high-energy, non-perishable and comfort foods in your van, such as unsalted nuts, hard-boiled sweets, trail mix, dried fruit, crackers and nut butter. Add some bottles of water, and you’re all set! Water bottles are also handy to pour into your radiator if it overheats.
Remember to check your stash now and then to make sure it is still in date and stored well.
Car Phone Charger
The last thing you need in a breakdown or an emergency is for your phone battery to die. An in-car charger acts as a portable power source that runs off the power of your vehicle, so all you need to do is plug it in.
It is important to remember that if you don’t have access to a mobile or have no signal on your mobile, you can still reach out for help. If you are on the motorway, you will need to walk to the nearest emergency telephone. It is wise to evaluate the situation in quieter areas and either wait for a passing vehicle to help or safely walk to a nearby house or building.
Empty fuel can
Having an empty fuel can in your van can be a lifesaver if you run out of fuel. While we all like to think we would remember to refuel before that happens, mistakes happen, and while it may be frustrating to run out of fuel, this is a situation that is easily fixed. Simply make your way to a petrol station and fill the fuel can. That should give your car enough fuel to get you back to the nearest petrol station so you can fill up the tank.
Okay, hear us out on this one. Yes, we live in modern times where we have easy access to in-car Sat Nav systems and mobile maps. But if you get lost, lose signal, get a flat battery, or if there is an unexpected diversion on your route, a road atlas could be invaluable.
Cold/Wet Weather Supplies
Cold and wet weather can affect vehicles at any time as the weather can be quite unpredictable, especially here in the UK. Ensuring that you have the right supplies in your van is a practical solution to keeping you safely on the road no matter the weather so that you can continue to make your deliveries.
Remember, it is a legal requirement to keep your front and rear windscreens clear of ice and snow before driving on the road. Keeping an ice scraper and de-icer in your van at all times keeps you prepared for these conditions before your start a journey and in the event that you become stranded somewhere.
Other weather supplies could include a fold away shovel, windshield washer fluid, warm clothing, cat litter for traction, rain poncho, and blankets.
We can never tell when an emergency will occur; by staying prepared with emergency equipment, you help keep yourself and others safe. While safety is your number one priority, having the right equipment when you need it can also help you to avoid lengthily breakdowns in your van, which can cost you both valuable delivery time and, of course, money.