What should I legally carry in my car?

  • Do I need to legally carry my driving licence?
  • What documents do I need to legally carry in my car?
  • What safety equipment should I legally carry in my car?

It’s quite common knowledge that, in France, you have to legally carry certain items in your car. This is required by law.

However, are there any laws like this in the UK? There are a lot of driving laws that you should know, but some often get overlooked.

So, in this article, we look at what you need to legally carry in your car, and what we recommend you keep just in case.

Picture of a full car boot, loaded with supplies

Do I need to legally carry my driving licence?

While the law does not explicitly require you to carry your driving licence with you when driving in the UK, you are legally obligated to produce it if requested by a police officer during a stop.

Therefore, while not carrying your driving licence is not a specific offence in itself, failure to produce it upon request can result in legal consequences. It is highly advisable to have your driving licence with you while driving to avoid potential issues with law enforcement.

A Police Officer can ask to see your licence at any time and if you do not produce it immediately, then you will have to produce it at a Police Station within 7 days. Most people have their licence with them in their wallet or purse anyway. However, if you lose your licence then it needs to be replaced straight away.

What should I do if I lose my driving licence?

If you have lost your licence, or it has been stolen or damaged, then you need to get it replaced immediately.

But don’t worry, getting it replaced is pretty straightforward. You can do it online with the DVLA. If you go here, you will be able to do it. You will have to do this as soon as possible. As we said above, you will only have 7 days to produce your licence if you are asked and it can take longer for your new licence to be delivered.

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What documents do I need to legally carry in my car?

There aren’t any laws that require you to keep anything in your car. However, like your licence, there are things that you may need to produce should a Police Officer ask for it.

These include;

  • A valid insurance certificate
  • A valid MOT certificate

And if you cannot produce these when asked, you will have 7 days to produce them at a Police Station.

While you don’t need to legally carry them, we recommend you have these in your car should the situation arise. It can’t hurt to be prepared for every situation when you are driving. And, being asked to show documents is one of them. It will make things much easier should you find yourself in that situation.

Close up of insurance paperwork

What do I do if I lose my MOT certificate?

If you lose your MOT certificate then don’t panic. You can get a replacement certificate from any MOT testing station.

You will take your vehicle registration certificate (V5C or log book) to the testing station. This will have the details needed for reissue. You will be charged a fee, but this shouldn’t be any more than £10. If you are stopped by the Police and asked to produce an MOT certificate and you don’t have it, then don’t worry. Your MOT can still be checked electronically via the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) database. This oversees all MOT testing so, the Police will be able to check on that.

What happens if I lose my insurance certificate?

You will have to ask your insurer for a duplicate certificate. Some companies will charge a fee, and this can be up to £30 a time. While it’s not something you might think of when looking at insurance policies, it wouldn’t hurt to ask how much it does cost to replace or change something on your insurance certificate.

What happens if I lose my log book?

If you lose your log book then you will have to apply for another copy. You can only do this if you are the registered keeper. You can read more about registered keepers here.

The replacement will cost you £25. If you want to apply by post you will need to fill in a V62 form. You can download this here, or pick one up from your local Post Office or DVLA Office. You can read more about your vehicle log book here. 

Man in a car looking at paperwork

What safety equipment should I legally carry in my car?

Unlike France, we do not have any laws that require you to carry certain equipment in your car. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t. Being prepared in the event of an accident or a break-down is invaluable. While you hopefully will never need to use it, you’ll be glad you were prepared in the event you do.

So, no laws that require you to carry any equipment with you. However, you should have a few things in the event of an emergency. We recommend things such as;

  • A high visibility jacket
  • A hazard triangle
  • Spare tyre/jack
  • First aid kit
  • Mobile phone and charger
    • One of those old phones that have a long battery life will do, our smartphones aren’t built to last a break-down
  • Water
  • Waterproofs
  • A road map
  • Details of your breakdown cover and insurance company details
  • A blanket
  • Non-perishable food
    • Things such as crisps or cereal bars
  • A torch
    • Preferably wind up unless you want to keep spare batteries in your car as well

So those are a few of the things we recommend you keep in your car. We definitely recommend stocking your car up if you are doing a long journey or during the colder months. While you don’t have to have everything in your car all the time, having the essentials could prove invaluable.

Picture of a snowy car boot with equipment inside

In Conclusion…

There are no legal requirements for what you should carry in your car. However, if you fail to produce;

  • Your driving licence
  • Your MOT certificate
  • Your insurance certificate

When asked, then you have 7 days to produce these documents to a Police Station. So we do recommend that you keep these documents with you in your car at all times. If you lose any of these documents then they are easily replaceable, and we recommend you replace them as soon as possible.

There is also no legal requirement for any safety equipment that you have to keep in your car. However, it’s always good to be prepared and having a standard safety kit in your car could prove useful should a break-down or an accident occur.

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