Eight Must-Haves to Keep in Your Car 

For a lot of people, their car is like a second home. A survey by AAA even found that American drivers spend about 17,600 minutes a year in their car. No matter where you go–to see your in-laws, visit friends, work, the gym–you’re probably getting there in a car (unless you’re a public transportation guru). No wonder you keep a bag in there for trash, not to mention the box of stuff that’s meant for Goodwill, and oh, are those your tax documents in the back seat? 

With so much time spent in the car, it’s important that you keep certain must-have items with you at all times. The following are 8 must-have items to keep in your car at all times, which come in particularly handy on a sunny day.  

1. Sunscreen

Even though the windshield can block some UV-rays, the protection that your skin gets from the window is limited. Research suggests that most cases of skin cancer happen on due to people driving for a long time without proper protection. Imagine you’re taking a long road trip with your arm hanging out the window as you drive. It’s not immune to the sun and that awkward, uneven tan is not something to strive for. Apply sunscreen before you start driving, whether the day is sunny or not. Even if you can’t see the sun, its rays can still see you. 

2. Sunglasses

Sunglasses are the sunscreen for your eyes. Well, that’s true of sunnies with UV protection, which many sunglasses do not have. Always keep a pair in your car for yourself. If you’re generous, keep a few stowed away for your passengers as well. Sunlight can also contribute to lines developing in the delicate skin around your eyes–without sunglasses, the bright light makes you squint without even noticing. Over time, that repetitive movement will cause permanent lines.  

More fun facts: Everyday exposure to UV-rays can cause macular degeneration and cataracts and research indicates that between 5 and 10% of all skin cancer occurrences are eyelid cancers. Even cases of ocular melanoma have been reported.  

If you want to avoid all this harm coming to your eyes (there’s no “if” about it), you need to have sunglasses. The best-recommended sunglasses by many doctors are those with 100 percent UV-protection. 

3. Umbrella

Being caught in a rainstorm without an umbrella is a worst-case scenario, which is why you should always keep one in your car! Whether it is shining or raining, having an umbrella available is important. There are compact umbrellas readily available that can be stored under your seat (keeping it in the trunk kind of defeats the purpose). 

4. Long sleeves

Like sunscreen, wearing long sleeves while in the car can protect you from the sun, especially in the fabric is made with UV-resistant material. Yes, it exists! But on days that you aren’t wearing long sleeves with your outfit, keep some options in your car. This is also helpful for impromptu stops or adventures outside.  

5. A hat

Always have a hat ready whenever you reach your destination, even if it’s a grungy hand-me-down baseball hat. Rain or shine, you can never go wrong with a hat! Experts recommend wearing a hat every sunny day to protect the scalp. It is believed that you can reduce skin cancer risks by wearing a hat on a sunny day.   

6. Phone charger

There’s no excuse to not have a phone charger in your car. A charger should be your car’s codependent best friend. The car never goes anywhere without the phone charger. The obvious reason is in case of emergency, but even something as simple as checking the weather warrants a charged phone. Maybe you forgot to charge your cell at home. Maybe your battery is failing. Maybe you lost your other charger. There are so many reasons why you need to have a charger in your car. Don’t make us tell you again!   

7. Water and snacks

Snacks go without saying! But water is often overlooked. Many of us don’t drink enough water on a daily basis, so why would we go out of our way to have it available in the car? The fact of the matter is that you never know what might happen when on the road. You might be held up in traffic for hours. Or you could just get thirsty.  

8. Blankets

Anyone who has lived in a cold, snowy place knows how necessary blankets are! Not that we’re snuggling up in the driver’s seat, but should a car break down in the middle of the winter, extra blankets in the trunk can save your life.  

Keep in mind that UV-rays can penetrate the car windows, potentially causing serious skin problems. A light blanket can protect your leg skin while driving. 

Having the 8 above must-haves can be a lifesaver for you and your family. You should also check the mandatory items such as the spare wheel, the life-saver sign, fire extinguisher, first aid kit and other important devices.