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The Glovebox Top Ten

Any decent modern car will have oodles of storage compartments all over the inside of the cabin for drivers and passengers to put things in.  These compartments come in large and small, and designers tend to get quite inventive.  A frequently found option for many models includes a chilled console compartment, and some cars – one of the new Skodas, I think – has a special draining compartment for damp umbrellas.  But what do you put in the compartments now that you’ve got them?  Here’s a top ten list of what every car should have in the glovebox:

  1. The car manual.  If you keep it in the bookshelf in your house or in the garage, you’re likely to forget it when you drop the car off for a routine service, which will make things a little trickier for the mechanic.  Besides, if you’re not completely sure where the fuses are or how much you should inflate the tyres when towing, then it pays to have the info on hand when you need it.  You probably found the manual in the glovebox; leave it there.
  2. A map.  In fact, several maps.  One for your local roads and one on the state or even the country scale.  If you’re travelling out of town, it pays to get a street-level map for the place you’re visiting rather than following your nose, the sun and the vague directions of the person you finally stopped and asked.  A GPS makes a decent substitute.
  3. Medications.  If you have a long-term condition, you need to keep spares with you in the car (inhaler for asthmatics, insulin for diabetics, etc.).  Even if you don’t have a long-term condition, it always pays to have an aspirin in the car – the sort you don’t need water for, as nobody drives well with a splitting headache.
  4. Tissues.  Somewhere, some day, you will sneeze, get a nosebleed, burst into tears (or tend to a passenger who does so), need to wipe the windscreen…  Tissues work. 
  5. First Aid kit.  Some models have these as options.  Sticking plaster, antiseptic cream, bandages of all sizes, a sling, safety pins and some tweezers are the bare minimum. 
  6. Sunglasses.  And sunscreen.  We’ve got a sunny climate, so prepare for it.
  7. Water.  We all need to keep our fluids up, especially during long drives.  Replace the water regularly, as it can grow nasties in it if left sitting around too long.  Buy bottled water if you have to, but the stuff from the tap (in many places) is good enough, especially if you boil it or filter it yourself.
  8. Nibbles and chewing gum.  Low blood sugar causes fatigue, which can lead to bad driving.  Probably best to avoid too many sugary sweets (a few are OK).  Try dried fruit, nuts, crackers and biscuits.
  9. Pen and paper.  You are going to see an ad, have a bright idea or want to take down someone’s phone number at some stage.  Have the pen and paper handy for making notes.
  10. Small change.  It’s a good place to store it and comes in handy when you’ve only got plastic in the wallet and you need to feed the parking meter, pick up a loaf of bread or hand it over when the child you’ve dropped off at the school gate announces the need for a gold coin donation.