Car Care: What to Pack in Your Emergency Kit
Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail,” and that’s doubly true when it comes to driving. Many experts suggest that everybody keep an emergency kit in their cars just in case you break down or find yourself stranded. Here are a couple of the best items to keep in your vehicle at all times.
Flat tires and blowouts are among the most common emergencies you’ll encounter on the road. Thankfully, they’re also some of the easiest to prepare for. The most important step you can take is to make sure you have a spare and that it’s properly inflated every few months or before you leave for a trip. However, if your vehicle doesn’t have a spare, you should have a patch kit and a portable air compressor.
If you find yourself stranded for any length of time, it’s vital to keep food and water on hand. Edmunds writer Phillip Reed recommends that you opt for nonperishable items that give you lots of energy, such as nuts, granola bars and dried fruit. Make sure to store your water in a reusable bottle so there’s no chance of cheap plastic ones melting or releasing chemicals in the summer heat.
In an emergency situation, safety is the No. 1 priority. The most basic necessity is a first aid kit. NSC.org states that it should include items like gauze, medical tape, adhesive bandages, antibiotic ointment and an instant cold compress. The article also encourages you to keep a fire extinguisher on hand, just in case. If your car breaks down at night, you should have a few LED road flares to lay around your vehicle, a flashlight and a reflective vest if you need to walk along the side of the street.
Not every roadside incident will require you to sit and wait for a tow or tire change. If your battery dies in a parking lot, for instance, all you need to get moving again is a set of jumper cables and a helpful stranger. Similarly, pulling off to refill your wiper fluid or top off your engine oil is a breeze, so long as you planned ahead. Also, make sure to have a roll of paper towels for checking the oil level.
Some of the most important things to put in your emergency kit are everyday household items, but they’re invaluable. To start, always keep a blanket in the trunk if you need to huddle in a dead car in the cold. Next, always have a spare charging cable for your phone as well as the contact info for someone who can give you a tow. Finally, it’s a good idea to have a multitool and a roll of duct tape on hand so you can perform simple repairs on the fly.
Running into a problem on the road is always a hassle, but having these items in your emergency kit will help you get moving again quickly and safely.
This article is presented by Jake Sweeney Mazda.