With winter weather around the corner, now is the time to prepare for the unexpected. An inoperative vehicle can be scary. So, give yourself a little extra peace of mind by making certain you have what you need just in case you become stranded. Here are our tips for creating the perfect auto emergency kit.
When it comes to staying safe, think in terms of the basics—water, food and warmth—before anything else:
- Water: Bottled water will keep you hydrated. As a rule of thumb, pack at least one bottle for your typical number of passengers.
- Food: High calorie food bars (protein bars) are nutritious and have a long shelf life despite extreme temperatures.
- Warmth: Pack a blanket or two – if space allows – in your trunk.
- Light: A flashlight or light sticks that last for 12 hours will help light your way during a nighttime emergency.
- Matches: In a crisis, matches come in handy for fire building.
- Tools: A knife with multiple tool functions makes for easier tasks while you wait for help. Bungee cords, duct tape, a screwdriver, and a wrench come in handy as well.
- First aid: Bandages, sterile gauze pads, alcohol pads, over the counter pain relievers, Ace wraps and safety pins are great to have on hand in car emergencies, just as they are at home.
- Cell phone charger: If you don’t already keep a car charger in your vehicle, you should. Use of your cell phone is a lifesaver when emergency strikes. It can even help rescuers find your exact location.
- Spare Cash: Keep $20 in small bills inside your kit in case you’re without funds.
- Tire Needs: Prepare for a flat with a tire gauge, foam tire sealant or portable compressor and plug. Also, be certain that you have an operable jack and properly inflated spare tire. If you have locking lug nuts, make sure the key is stored in your car.
- Gloves and rags: Auto repair on the road can be messy. Protect your hands and clean up with gloves and rags.
- Fire extinguisher: Store a small extinguisher in your trunk for emergencies and check it often for expiration.
If making your own kit is a bit overwhelming, consider buying a pre-made one online. This one seems pretty comprehensive: auto emergency kit. If you do buy a kit, be certain to go through our list to add any missing items.
We certainly hope you aren’t faced with any roadside emergencies. But preparing an auto emergency kit will ensure that no matter what Mother Nature or your car has in store, you’re prepared.