Though it’s a frustration – jam with one hand, slam with the other – your car’s glove compartment has just enough space to hold the essentials for getting smoothly from Point A to Point B. While my trunk is a nightmare, I look to my trusty little front-seat cubby for everyday survival gear that I reach for time and time again:
Proof of insurance and registration.
A given. Most states including Washington and Oregon now accept digital proof of insurance on a mobile device (available on our Go PEMCO app), but I still keep a paper copy of my insurance ID card on hand in case technology fails, or if I’m on a road trip. Montana, for example, does not accept digital proof of insurance. For your registration, make sure all registered owners have signed the bottom of the form – I got a friendly reminder (lecture, rather) on this once.
Emergency contact information.
Gather a list of in-case-of-emergency (ICE) numbers for family or friends, and also include your roadside assistance number and insurance customer service numbers. I’ve got a sticker on the inside of my glove compartment that simply says “Sharlyn’s ICE” and the number, so no one has to figure out how to unlock my phone or find my name on a document.
Plastic freezer bags.
Besides keeping documents dry, I’ve used freezer bags to collect trash, store loose change, and save a leftover deli sandwich (really). So handy – just remember to restock.
Disposable wet wipes.
Because I eat deli sandwiches in parking lots, and spill coffee, and can’t seem to refuel without making a mess, and always have a dusty dashboard, wet wipes are always the hero. I get the travel-sized 10-wipe packets and take them everywhere.
If I keep this in the trunk, the binder rings ultimately end up unclipped, and it’s a loose-leaf paper disaster. Though it takes up the most space, I make room for the manual in the glove compartment. This way, it stays in mint condition for when it comes time to sell the car, and I can look up quick tidbits like how to change the battery in the key fob – currently on my to-do list.
Don’t risk having dead batteries in a flashlight when you need it most. Hand-crank flashlights are typically small and perfect for finding lost treasures under seats.
Miniature first aid kit.
A little pouch with bandages, antiseptic wipes, and ibuprofen will do the trick for minor ailments. If you have sporty types in your family, keep a larger kit in the trunk.
Gloves, gloves, gloves.
Because isn’t that what a glove compartment is for? If not a fancy leather driving pair, stock a pair of disposable gloves, garden gloves, or winter gloves for roadside repairs or ice-scraping in colder temperatures.
Lost sunglasses and torn contact lenses have taught me to carry spare pairs of shades and glasses everywhere. True story: calling a cab to take you home because you only have one contact lens is not ideal.
Digital tire pressure gauge.
Since my flat tire incident of 2010, I make it a habit to check the pressure in all tires at each refueling. A digital gauge makes it easy to do a quick check and pass the time while the pump is running. For accurate readings, do this when the tires are cool, not after driving several miles. The recommended “PSI” tire pressure is usually printed on the inside of the driver’s side door jamb.
A more comprehensive roadside emergency kit holds gear like space blankets and jumper cables, but the limited space of the glove compartment is perfect to keep handy items like these within reach. What’s always in your glove compartment?