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Items You Need to Have in Your Vehicle by Law

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When you drive a car in another country like France, there are certain laws about the items you must always carry with you in your car, like a warning triangle.

However, what about in the UK? Are there any laws stating that you must carry items with you?

No Specific UK Laws

While there are lots of items that one could argue you ‘should’ have in your car at all times, there are not actually any UK laws that state you must have a particular item with you.

This may come as a surprise to some. For example, you may have thought that it is the law to carry your driving licence with you when you are in your car. However, this is not the case.

A police officer can ask to see your licence at any time. However, if you do not have your licence on you at the time, you can present it at a police station within a week.

If you do not present it within seven days, this is an offence that can lead to prosecution. But there is no punishment for not having your licence on you when a police officer asks to see it.

Of course, you can save yourself a lot of hassle by keeping it with you because it will save you a trip to the police station later on.

Other Essential Documents

There are several other documents that you should keep with you when you are driving. But again, you do not have to keep them in your car by law.

A police officer can ask you to produce a valid car insurance certificate or an MOT certificate. Again, the same rules apply as with the driving licence. If you do not have yours on you, then you will have to present them at a police station within seven days.

So it is well worth keeping all your documents together in your glove compartment. That way, you always have them to hand when you need to present them, saving yourself the hassle of going to the station.

If you ever lose one of the documents, make sure you replace it as soon as possible to avoid any potential problems.

What About the Spare Tyre?

It used to be a requirement to keep a spare tyre in your vehicle at all times. That way, you could replace a tyre if it got punctured.

But this is no longer the case. Instead, many manufacturers now provide inflation kits and tyre sealants, and these provide a temporary solution to punctures. You can then get your tyre replaced shortly afterwards.

Other Useful Equipment to Keep in Your Car

As mentioned, there is no equipment or gear that you are legally required to keep in your car. But it is a very good idea to keep some equipment in your car to prepare for various situations, like a breakdown.

These could include:

  • A hazard triangle, just like those that are legal requirements in France
  • A spare tyre and a jack to change tyres
  • A first aid kit
  • A high-visibility jacket in case you have to get out of your vehicle in low-light conditions
  • A torch
  • Your mobile phone and a charger
  • A blanket in case you have to spend a few hours in your car in the winter
  • A physical road map

So while there are no legal requirements about any of these things, you’ll be glad you have them with you in your car if you ever have a breakdown.

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