No matter where you live, you are sure to break down or get caught in bad weather conditions at some point if you drive. That is why it is imperative that you keep a well-stocked Emergency Supply Kit in your vehicle at all times. Here’s what it should contain.
Tools and Equipment
Most cars come with a jack and a spare. That’s a good start, but there is a lot more that needs to be included in your emergency kit. A few tools that you should always carry in your vehicle in addition to the jack and spare tire are:
- Pliers – Pliers are great for tightening loose hose attachments that might come loose and cause you to break down beside the road.
- Screw driver – It is always a good idea to have an assortment of different size screwdrivers both Phillips head and Flat head for those times when things need adjusting.
- Flashlight – Being stranded in the dark is a scary feeling, and working in the dark is downright frustrating. To avoid these situations keep a flashlight and extra batteries in your vehicle at all times; preferably a magnetic or LED flashlight as these make it easier for working in the dark, and provide a brighter beam.
Flairs – Flairs and reflective emergency triangles help warn oncoming traffic that there’s a breakdown ahead to minimize danger to you and your property.
- Jumper Cables – Whether it is to help a stranger or for your own use, jumper cables will at some point be used. Cold weather negatively affects batteries at the most inopportune times and your jumper cables could get you up and running.
- Cat Litter – This may seem like an odd thing to keep in your car, but anyone who has been stuck on ice can tell you it is a real life saver. Cat litter works like sand when placed around tires on ice or snow, helping you gain traction to get unstuck.
- Small Shovel and Ice Scraper - If you end up in deep snow or a snow bank some where you will need the shovel to dig yourself out and the scraper will help clear windows.
Personal or Comfort Items
There is nothing like being stuck by the side of the road cold, hungry, and thirsty. Adding a few basic comfort items to your emergency kit could just save your life. Here’s what to include:
- Blankets – A blanket is for more than keeping you warm. In addition to keeping you warm as you wait for assistance, a blanket can be used to provide additional traction when trying to get unstuck.
- Jackets, Hats, Gloves, Socks, and Shoes – Having spare clothes in the car provides you with a way to change out of clothing items that may become wet while you are evaluating your situation.
Water or Sports Drink – Having water in the car is great. Just remember it will freeze. That’s why it is recommended to keep sports drinks in your emergency kit as they provide both hydration and needed electrolytes.
- Snacks – You never know how long you might be stranded. Keeping energy bars, or some kind of healthy storable snack item in your kit will provide you with sustenance until help arrives.
- Small Candles and Matches– It is never a good idea to sit with your car running in a snow bank. Carbon can build up in the car killing everyone inside. To help keep the interior of the vehicle warm and provide some ambient lighting, light a small candle and place it on the dashboard.
In addition to creating an emergency kit, you should regularly check it to make sure everything is included and in working order so that you have it when it counts.