Whether you're new to the world of owning your own motor vehicle and having both the responsibility and freedom that it affords you or you're a veteran owner, you've probably found out that a car can come to serve as a second home of sorts. The only problem with this is that your car lacks many of the creature comforts which make your normal home so secure. In addition to that, the fact that you're in a metal frame which is on the move means that you have more things to consider than in a stationary brick and mortar house.
Most people will have arranged their car insurance, certain tools such as jacks and spanners, and even have a spare wheel or a carry bag for grocery shopping inside their cars. These are the ten other accessories any good driver shouldn't be without – covering everything from safety to aesthetics:
1. Antigravity Batteries' Micro-Start Personal Power Supply (PPS)*
The Antigravity Batteries Micro-Start PPS is one of the few lithium jump starter batteries on the market which can not only fit in your pocket but also has the ability to bring your car back to life from a standstill. Allegedly the 'World's Smallest Lithium Jump Starter', it weighs approximately 400g and can power a vast array of devices in addition to helping you jump-start your car. From laptops, iPads, GPS navigation devices, cameras and more, the Micro-Start PPS is a must have. The starter version XP-3 is R1600+ and offers 200A with a 5V USB port for charging devices. It also houses a high-power LED flashlight with SOS flashing pattern. The battery is available from a range of online stores in South Africa, however, it is still an import and both prices and delivery time may differ.
2. Resqme Original Keychain Car Escape Tool*
Another handy import from the US, the Resqme Original Keychain Car Escape Tool is a tiny tool with the ability to save your life in the direst of situations. If you ever find yourself in the unfortunate position of being trapped in your vehicle as a result of a car accident or seatbelt malfunction, then you would definitely do well to have this tool on your keychain. At just 7cm, the tool features a sharp blade to help you cut your seatbelt and a glass breaking tool, in the form of a powerful, spring-loaded steel spike. The tool goes for close to R100 at various online stores.
* Price dependent on dollar-rand exchange rate
3. Johnson & Johnson Safe Travels® Car First Aid Kit
This first-aid kit was prepared by Johnson & Johnson in association with the Red Cross, Band Aid and Neosporin and contains a wealth of quality first-aid items to help you deal with cuts, scrapes and to prevent a host of different infections. The first-aid kit contains 70 items ranging from:
4. Griffin iTrip Smartphone-FM Transmitter
Rafiq Phillips, a Cape Town-based SEO specialist, social entrepreneur and writer for Web Addict whose life is quite techno-saturated, weighs in with his favourite must-have car accessory:
"The best third-party car accessory in 2015 has to be the smartphone. Why? With today's vehicles all including technology that allows you to seamlessly sync your phone with your vehicle hands-free, safer driving habits are formed. This allows you to listen to your favourite playlists and answer calls through you car's sound system. My best advice is to get to know what your smart phone capabilities are when used safely with your new car. If you have an older model vehicle that does not have Bluetooth I'd suggest investing in the Griffin iTrip – the world's leading in-car solution for playing your smartphone music through your car audio, using FM transmission"
5. Cobra CDR 900 Drive HD Dash Cam with Wi-Fi
The Cobra CDR 900 offers you 1296P Super HD or 1080P Standard HD formatted with an Ambarella™ A7LA chipset for higher image quality, even when driving at night. The Wi-Fi functionality allows you to easily stream live and recorded footage to your iOS or Android device using the Cobra Drive HD app. The app also enables users to command the CDR 900 remotely, with comments such as when to start recording and the mode the camera should be working in. The camera uses motion-sensing technology to automatically start recording when the car is moving. Also, the G-sensor is able to sense sudden acceleration and collisions and uses this to automatically capture and protect critical footage surrounding an accident by uploading it to online cloud storage.
6. Generic USB Car-charger & Waze GPS Navigation App
Sam Wright, editor of the Tech Girl blog and a woman who has as much intimate knowledge of the tech space as some of those devices' own manufacturers, gives her own account of car accessories drivers shouldn't go without:
"When it comes to car accessories I have some firm favourites. While they might not be new they're definitely must haves. The first is, of course, a car charger. They're relatively inexpensive and are life savers. Smartphone batteries just don't last. When you have a USB Car Charger that plugs into your car lighter you're 'A for Away'. My other must have car accessory is a smartphone mount. Fiddling with your phone in your lap is dangerous. If it is mounted it is far easier to make calls or follow navigation directions and you're not looking down all the time (and keeping your eyes off the road!)
From an app perspective, I'm obsessed with Waze. It's a great GPS Navigation app and works on user insights. So as you drive you share your route information (things like potholes and speeding cameras) with other users. It plots the quickest routes, diverts from traffic and warns you of speeding traps. It is a fabulous little app and best of all – it's free!"
STYLE & ORGANISATION ACCESSORIES
7. SANI Car Boot Organiser (Black)
The SANI Car Boot Organiser in black is for those people who happen to have boots which serve as dressing room; car spares storage, grocery and sports equipment space, and more. The ready-to-go design allows someone in need of space to organise all the objects which cause clutter in the boot of the car and prevents broken eggs or other such everyday travesties, as the car is in motion. The organiser comes with Velcro strips which keep it secure to the carpeted surface of the boot and is made of a durable polymer which is mould-and-dirt resistant. The organiser goes for R350 at Makro.
8. Zone Tech Steering Wheel Desk
The Zone Tech Steering Wheel Desk is another US import which allows you to multi-task right from your driver's seat. However, multi-tasking in this sense involves no driving at all. The Steering Wheel Desk is ideal for situations where simply putting the objects on your lap is just not enough. The desk is made of high quality HDPE plastic – which also happens to be eco-friendly –and includes a drink holder and miniature dining table. But probably the best use for the desk is adapting it to serve as a platform for your iPad, laptop or other portable devices. You can get the desk for as little as R351 in South Africa and the price includes import taxes and duties. Bear in mind, however, that this feature could not be safely employed while driving.
9. Leather Honey Premium Upholstery Conditioner
With a name which extends way back to 1968, Leather Honey is the trusted premium leather conditioner for craftsmen, homeowners and other alike. The conditioner's unique formula allows it to penetrate deep into the pores of the leather and bring out the best in the sheen, durability and suppleness. Leather Honey is so versatile it can be used for equestrian pieces, furniture, car interiors, shoes, clothing, and more. Additionally, the formulation is unique in its lack of animal products, silicone, toxins, solvents, or other harmful chemicals. If you want your car's all-leather interior to keep its quality and brand-new feel, then you should invest in a bottle or two of the miracle substance. A bottle of Leather Honey goes for R504, including import taxes and duties.
10. Lamin-X Headlight Coating (Tint)
Autostyle Motorsport is a trusted South African automotive accessory retailer, specialising in useful gadgets. Who says that fun, style and practical protection can’t go hand in hand? This particular item goes a long way towards customising your car to suit your personal tastes, all while helping to keep maintenance costs down. The headlight option goes with the tail light and fog light film to give your lights a totally unique look, which will have you puffing up a little every time a passer-by notices. The film isn’t only for aesthetics, however, as it also helps to protect your car’s headlights from harmful UV rays, sandblasting and gravel impact.
If you truly love your vehicle, you use it for more than travelling from point A to point B. You probably have a sports kit in the boot, some of your favourite comfort foods in the glove compartment and a whole lot of music to listen to as you drive. Since your vehicle is always more than a mode of transport, whenever you think of car accessories it should be holistically. Have a few accessories which could save your life in case of an emergency, accessories which will come in handy when you have to go about your daily life, and an accessory or two which make your car a fun space to be in. And remember that if you’re going to put this much effort in, which is great, to also protect your vehicle through car insurance.