Imagine, you’re driving on a lonely, dark road when suddenly your car becomes difficult to control. Managing to safely ease the car to the side of the road, you turn on your hazards, and get out to investigate. If the problem is a flat tire, and you’re prepared with a well-stocked emergency kit as well as a spare, you should be on your way in no time at all. For those situations that don’t involve a flat, you can use your cell phone and call roadside assistance; which we highly recommend having. Many auto insurers offer this.
Although you can certainly purchase a well-stocked pre-packaged emergency kit, the best value and most comprehensive kit is going to be one you create yourself, using many of the items mentioned below. Even if you decide to purchase a packaged kit, like this one for $87.95 from www.survival-supply.com, you’ll want to beef it up to ensure you are always prepared for the unexpected. You should also consider weather conditions in your area; packing accordingly. Here are some essentials for your car emergency kit.
First Aid Kit: In addition to an assortment of bandages, include disposable gloves, adhesive tape, sterile gauze pads, painkillers, antiseptic cream or ointment, alcohol-free cleansing wipes, a thermometer, antihistamine tablets, tweezers, scissors, distilled water for cleaning wounds, insect bite/sting spray, skin rash cream, and anything particular to you and your family. You may want to consider purchasing everything latex-free.
Food & Water: If you find yourself stuck in the middle of nowhere, the first priority is maintaining hydrated, and fed – especially if you have little ones. Have non-perishable food items and bottled water on hand. High-calorie options such as energy bars, almonds, nut butters, dried fruit, beef jerky, trail mix, and crackers are all great solutions. It is important to pack enough water for each of your passengers as well.
Flashlight: You should always include a good-quality flashlight in your emergency kit. It will come in handy whether you’re inspecting your car at night, need some extra visibility when changing a flat tire, or when having to take your son or daughter to use the bathroom off the road. You won’t want to forget to pack extra batteries as well! You should also make sure to pack flares in the event your car does breakdown.
Woolen Blanket: Whether it is pouring, sleeting or snowing, a wool blanket can help you and your loved ones stay warm and dry until roadside assistance arrives. We recommend purchasing a wool blanket over a blend or fleece option, as not only are these blankets extremely warm, they are also flame and odor resistant. Consider packing one in the truck of your car for each member of your family.
USB Battery Pack: While your phone is probably on your person, or nearby, you should also carry a USB battery pack in your vehicle. This should be in addition to a 12-volt car charger. Ensuring your phone is charged, and that you have a way to charge it should the battery run low, may make all the difference between getting help…fast…and not getting any help at all.
Fire Extinguisher: When purchasing a fire extinguisher for your car, look for one that is rated for both Class B and Class C fires by the National Fire Protection Association, or NFPA. The NFPA states that Class B fires are those that involve flammable or combustible liquids, such as gasoline and kerosene, whereas Class C fires involve energized electrical equipment including panel boxes and batteries.
Winter Essentials: If live in an area prone to snow, or icy roads, you may need to consider packing some winter essentials in your car during the winter months. You knew know when you’ll need a folding shovel, ice scrapers, heavy socks, snow boots, chains, a change of clothes, and a pair of gloves is going to come in handy. You can carry all these items and more in a clear Rubbermaid box in the trunk of your car.