The road is a risky place. Even the best drivers can find themselves involved in an accident. If you find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time, you may be injured yourself or be in a position to help others who are. At times like these, it’s really helpful to have a first aid kit in your vehicle.

In UK there’s no legal requirement to have a first aid kit in your personal car. If you’re required to drive as part of your job, it’s recommended that your employer provides you with a first aid kit in order to meet health & safety guidelines relating to the provision of first aid, though again, this isn’t a specific legal requirement. However, if you’re driving abroad, be aware that some European countries do have laws which require drivers to carry first aid kits and many also have laws obligating witnesses to an accident to provide assistance, regardless of whether they caused the accident.

Irrespective of the law, driving with a first aid kit is a good idea. Most drivers will be involved in at least one accident in their lifetimes. There were
160,597 road casualties in 2018, including 1,784 fatalities, according to UK goverment statistics. While the majority of injuries were not serious, a significant proportion were. A first aid kit could, in extreme circumstances, help save someone’s life until emergency services arrive, and certainly provide comfort and relief to people with less critical injuries. Should you be involved in or witness an accident, a first aid kit will empower you to help yourself, your passengers and others.

The benefits of having a first aid kit in your car aren’t limited to road accidents, of course. While you’re out and about, you’ll effectively have a mobile pharmacy in your car. Should you need to treat a wound as long as your car is nearby you won’t have to wait long to do so. Children are particularly prone to hurt themselves so if you have a family, it’s sensible to keep a stocked first aid kit in your vehicle at all times. One NHS study in Oxfordshire found that 15% of injuries resulting in hospital admission happened on the roads and another 25% occurred during leisure activities, where your car kit might also come in handy.

You can put any first aid kit in your car, though you will probably want one that covers all the basics without taking up too much space. Our Car & Vehicle First Aid Kit comes in a compact soft Nylon case and includes everything you need to treat minor wounds at an exceptional price. However, if you want something more robust, our British Standard Motoring First Aid Kit comes in a hard plastic case and includes a trauma dressing which is more suitable for serious injuries.

Passenger carrying vehicles

Commercial passenger-carrying vehicles (PCVs) must carry a first aid kit according to UK law. Taxis are also required to carry a first aid kit. The size of the kit/number of kits required depends on the capacity of the PCV. You can find PCV first aid kits here.

What about motorbikes?

If you ride a motorcycle, we also highly recommend that you take a first aid kit, whether in a small backpack or in bike luggage. According to government statistics in 2017 motorcyclists made up 0.8% of road traffic by mileage and yet accounted for 11% of all road casualties and 19% of fatalities. Shockingly, this translates to being 25x more likely to be injured on the road than a car occupant and 62x more likely to be killed.

These are sobering statistics, which is why first and foremost, you must wear adequate safety equipment when you’re riding a motorcycle. Our British Standard Motorcycle First Aid Kit comes in a variety of containers but this vinyl wallet version is particularly portable and won’t take up much space. Crucially it contains a trauma dressing to control serious bleeding, and could help you or a bystander save your life should the worst happen – while this isn’t something anybody wants to think about, it’s really a minor expense and inconvenience to carry a first aid kit. You may even wish to consider a Critical Injury Pack, particularly if you’re riding as part of a group.


About the author:

Dennis Outram is a senior first aid trainer and a Serving Brother in the Order of St John.
Find out more about Dennis.