Radar Detector with GPS
Any "worth it" radar detector soon pays for itself by enabling you to avoid speeding tickets and higher insurance premiums. There's also the added, unquantifiable benefit of being able to drive with confidence, free of paranoia. Of course, if you've owned a radar detector in the past, you know that false positives can ruin its effectiveness, making the device merely a nuisance. Enter the Escort Passport Max, a modern detector specially designed to hone in on police radar, while blocking signals from the radar employed by the cruise control of other cars, the automatic sliding doors of nearby buildings, or other things on the road that'd confuse a lesser device. Available at Amazon; $278.34.
Flashlight and Emergency Tool
The OxyLED Flashlight packs a surprising number of everyday and emergency features into its rugged and durable design. First off, it's a flashlight—but with five modes and the ability to shine at distances up to 200 meters, the OxyLED isn't just any flashlight. That's also true because, with a built-in magnet, the flashlight easily attaches to metal surfaces, providing hands-free illumination when you're loading up the trunk, say, or changing a flat tire. Best of all, the solar-charging OxyLED comes with everything you'd need in an emergency: a compass (for orientation), hammer head (for breaking car windows), and knife (for undoing seat belts). Available at Amazon; $24.99.
Multi-Pocket Seat Back Organizer
Everything you need for a road trip or just for a typical day shuttling the kids can be packed in this convenient seat-back organizer. You no longer have to dig in seat pockets for tissues or reach around for that water bottle that fell and is rolling on the floor. This storage bag, which gets strapped to either the driver’s or passenger’s headrest, has multiple compartments, including drink holders and a tissue dispenser. Perhaps its best feature is the zippered, insulated section that can keep any snacks and beverages at optimum temperature, whether hot or cold. Available at Amazon; $8.99.
Emergency Road Assistance Kit
Your battery dying or any other car issue that lands you on the side of the road is bad enough—don’t be stranded there without the right supplies. The AAA 42-Piece Emergency Road Assistance Kit covers many of the basics you might need incase of an auto emergency. Items include obvious car staples, like booster cables and a flashlight with batteries, and other handy necessities, such as electrical tape and a safety vest. The handy bag that holds the tools makes it easy to store in your trunk to forget about until needed. Available at Amazon.com; $25.04.
Related: 10 Essentials for Any Survival Kit
Bluetooth Car Kit
Driving down the highway at 65 mph requires complete focus. Yet many drivers pay minimal attention to the road, while they simultaneously try to answer their phone or adjust the stereo settings. Eliminate some common driving distractions—and make your car ride safer and more convenient—with the Mpow Bluetooth 4.1 Transmitter/Receiver. This product pairs wirelessly with most smartphones for hands-free calling and music playing, and is capable of connecting with two devices at once. With a connection range of 33 feet and a built-in battery that lasts for 12 hours, it’s perfect for both road trips and commutes. Available on Amazon; $34.99.
Cars attract their fair share of mud, dust, pet hair, leaves, and other things that contribute to an unclean interior. Despite the dirt, many people wait far too long to clean their vehicle, due in part to the difficulty of maneuvering a full-size vacuum's attachment in a car's cramped interior. Thankfully the Onshowy 12 Volt 75W Portable Handheld Auto Vacuum Cleaner eases the burden. A slim pivoting nozzle reaches the tiniest nooks and crannies of your car, while the 9.9-foot long cord plugs into the cigarette lighter. Keep the vacuum in your trunk for unexpected spills and regular upkeep. Available on Amazon; $26.99.
Portable Jump Starter
No larger than a cell phone, this unassuming battery packs a whopping 12 volts, 300 amps, into a device small enough to sit inside your glove compartment until you find yourself in an emergency—whether you're phone dies in the middle of navigation or, worse, your car battery won't start. Using the set's included cables (which will indicate whether the car is ready or not to jump and even feature a boost button for completely dead batteries), JunoJumper's V2 Edition can jumpstart most 4- or 6-cylinder cars extra cables. Once you're back onto the road, recharge the battery itself by plugging it into a car charger or via the included micro-USB cord at home. Available on TheGrommet.com; $99.95
Heated Seat Cushion
Drivers wishing they had sprung for heated seats when they first purchased their car can finally ditch those regrets, thanks to an affordable alternative to the expensive add-on. Wagan's heated seat cushion with lumbar support keeps driver or passenger comfortable and cozy for any drive, be it an hour-long commute or a weekend road trip. Reap the benefits of lower back support from this polyester and velour seat cover year-round, and plug the cushion's cord into your car's 12V outlet to activate one of two temperature settings whenever the temperatures dip. Available on Amazon; $24.87.
Every headrest in your car is a storage opportunity waiting to happen. Simply snap on a set of hooks and you'll transform a do-nothing space into a space-saver. Hang handbags, shopping bags and more from the convenient hook. Since each hook can hold can up to 18 pounds, there's almost no end to this add-on's utility. Available on Amazon; $7.99.
Console Side Pocket
While many consoles give driver a convenient spot to stash their daily carry—wallet, coins, gloves, and more—the luxury of space is not something you'll find in a compact or economy-sized car. That's where this console side pocket gives you room to spread out while keeping your essentials at the ready. Even better, when stowed in between the seat and the console, this organizers prevents important stuff from getting dropped and stuck between the seat and the console. Available on Amazon; $17.98.
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