It’s happen to the best of us. You’re driving along, everything is fine, and then: BOOM! You have a flat tire and you’re stranded on the side of the road. In most cases, you can call roadside assistance or change the flat yourself. Sometimes, however, things are a little trickier. Bad weather, unsafe roadways or other extenuating circumstances can keep you waiting in your car longer than you’d like. So here are some items you should keep on hand for these emergencies.
Okay, this feels like a no-brainer and yet it can be an easy one to miss. You need to keep water handy for two reasons: staying hydrated and for cleaning purposes, such as a wound or dirt from eyes. A two day supply is ideal.
Obviously you want to stick to nonperishable items such as protein bars, nuts, beef jerky – or even some canned goods, if they have a pull top or you have a can opener. You never want to be stuck in your car, but having some snacks will definitely improve things.
I like to keep the cozy variety in my trunk for impromptu picnics or visits to the beach, but it’s also a great idea to keep some compact emergency blankets on hand. They protect you from all of the elements and they don’t take up much space.
- Flashlights or Flares
Whether it’s day or night, a flashlight is always a good tool to have on hand. You may need to get under your car to see something. At night, they can be an important safety device – warning other motorists that you are there. So, make sure you have at least one ready to go with fresh batteries. A flare gun or road flares are also helpful in case you need to attract attention to get help.
A basic kit will do and can be found at most grocery stores or sporting goods stores. Just make sure they contain Band-Aids, rubbing alcohol or some sort of cleaning agent, gauze, and aspirin.
- Mechanical Tools
It’s always a good idea to have items such as a wrench, screwdriver or hammer on hand. You also want to keep a jack and jumper cables in your car. Even if you don’t know how use them yet (you should learn!), they may come in handy so that someone else can help you.
- Shovels or a Jack
Most sporting goods stores or auto repair shops sell small, portable shovels and jacks. Both are necessary in case you get a flat or need to dig your car out of whatever stuck situation it’s in.
- A Backpack or Bag For Your Kit
You may need to leave your car and bring some of your survival items with you. Backpacks are light and you load them up and carry it easily.
- Prescription Medication
If you or a relative you drive with regularly is dependent on a certain kind of prescription medication, it’s a very good idea to keep a supply in your car. You might want to ask your doctor whether extreme temperatures will effect your medicine – there are small temperature controlled cases available online.
- Old and Charged Cell Phone
Little known fact: you don’t need cell service to dial 911. So I always keep an old cell phone my glove compartment. Make sure you charge the batteries every so often because if you’re truly in an emergency, you won’t be able to start your car to get it going. Most people will have their own cell phones on them, but in case something happens and your phone breaks or dies, this is a great security feature to have in place.
My hope is that you never need to use any of the items on this list, but in case you do, you can thank me one day! Stay safe and be prepared!