Nothing is worse than having car trouble when you’re in the middle of nowhere, especially if you’re travelling with kids. While car breakdowns are hard to predict and usually tend to happen when you’re least expecting them, there are some things you can do to prepare in the event that the worst happens. Every driver should have some kind of car emergency kit in their vehicle in case they get stranded far from help. The kit should be full of things to help you get back out on the road, and if that’s not possible, keep you safe and comfortable until help arrives. If you’re planning on making your own car emergency kit but aren’t sure what the essentials are, here’s a list of the must-haves.
Sometimes a breakdown isn’t a worst case scenario and can be rectified if you have the right tools. Tools you should always include in an emergency preparedness kit are:
– Ice scraper and snow brush (if you live in a cold climate)
If you’re stranded on the roadside and help is going to be a long time coming, you want to make sure you and your passengers will be safe in the interim. This is really important if you’ve been stranded in bad weather. Blankets, gloves, and beanies are all essential to have in the car emergency kit if you live in a colder climate . You should also make sure to pack extra shoes and clothing in case you need to change.
Make sure to include a flashlight or two in case you’re stranded in the dark or you need to get the attention of passing motorists. Wind-up flashlights are a good choice. To make sure that other drivers can see your car on the side of the road, add some roadside triangles or cones to put at the front and rear of your vehicle.
A basic first aid kit is another vital part of emergency preparedness. You can buy these and add in items you think might be necessary based on any health issues that you or your family might have. It’s not a bad idea to add antihistamines, painkillers, and calendula or hydrocortisone creams for skin irritations, just in case. If you or a passenger have sustained bleeding injuries, a tourniquet is vital for preventing bleed out.
Food and Water
While you obviously can’t stock a bunker’s worth of canned food in a kit, you can fill it with stuff you’ll need in an emergency. The best option for food is the kind that won’t spoil. Granola or energy bars are a good choice. If you often travel with your family, make sure you add enough for every person. Stock your kit with water in plastic bottles and again, make sure there’s enough for everyone. Replace the water every six months so it’s not stale.
The point of having a car emergency kit is to make sure you’re prepared if the worst happens. There’s no restriction on how much you can add (though keep in mind that it takes up space), so feel free to add other items if you think they’ll come in handy. Some useful things you might consider include:
– Small fire extinguisher – Useful for fighting small fires in or around your vehicle. Make sure to buy an automotive fire extinguisher (dry powder extinguisher), as a vehicle fire has different hazards than other fires.
– Extra cell phone charger – Even though most people carry chargers in their cars nowadays, it can’t hurt to have an extra one.
– Sunscreen and/or hats – If you’re stranded somewhere in the hot sun, make sure your skin and head are protected.
– Portable jump starter – In case you find yourself with an inexplicably dead battery, a portable jump starter can quickly get you going again.
Better Safe Than Sorry
In a perfect world, you’d never experience a car breakdown. However, the world’s not perfect, and therefore it’s always a good idea to be as prepared as you possibly can be. By making sure you have all the essentials for an emergency car kit, you’re increasing the safety of you and your family. It’s a good idea to put together a preparedness kit for all your vehicles so that no matter what you’re driving, you’re covered.