We often think of our homes first when it comes to safety and disaster response, however, what to keep in your car can be equally important. You should be prepared for a variety of emergencies when you are out on the road.
According to the DMV, only 5% of drivers keep the proper emergency supplies that they should have accessible in their vehicles!
Essentials of What to Keep in Your Car
Assemble an automotive emergency kit. Think of it as a one-time effort with bi-annual “checkups.” It is far better to have supplies that you never end up using than to be without them when needed. Pre-assembled emergency kits are available, but you can easily put one together yourself. We have outlined the necessary provisions below.
At a minimum, keep the following items in case you need to change a tire:
- Properly inflated spare tire (check the pressure requirements)
- Car jack
- Tie iron or lug nut wrench and a pipe for leverage
Being able to recover from a flat tire is a good start, but you should also be prepared to handle other emergencies. By keeping certain tools and supplies in your vehicle, you will be prepared to handle a variety of mechanical and weather issues. Your basic supplies should include the following items:
- First-aid kit (visit Safety Kits Plus)
- Extra charger for your cell phone
- Pocket knife or multipurpose tool
- Flashlight and spare batteries
- Fire extinguisher
- Reflective triangles or roadside flares
- Jumper cables
- Work gloves
- Road Tool Kit (Aerostich offers some great options)
- Two quarts of oil
- Brake fluid
- Duct tape
- Windshield washer fluid
- Spare fuses
- Tire inflator and foam tire sealant (to fix smaller holes)
- Tow strap or rope (that can tow up to 6,000 pounds)
Weather and Disaster Car Supplies
Even with basic supplies, you may find yourself in a situation where you must hunker down in your car for an extended period. Particularly, during natural disasters or if you are in a region that experiences snowy or icy winters. Your supplies should include the following items:
- Warm blanket and warm clothes (e.g. socks, mittens)
- Rain poncho
- Ice scraper and brush
- Collapsible shovel (in case you must dig it out)
- Important medications
- Road salt or cat litter (for traction)
- AM/FM radio and spare batteries
- Candle and a lighter
- Tarp (for working in the rain or snow)
- Several bottles of water, energy bars or other nonperishable snacks
Make sure that you can quickly find what you need by keeping your supplies in a sturdy cardboard box or another container somewhere in the back of your vehicle. Be sure to inspect your emergency supplies at least twice a year. Is the spare tire properly inflated? Is your food expired?
Lastly, get a roadside assistance membership and store the number in your glove box.
If you ever need to use your emergency supplies, you will be glad you had the foresight of what to keep in your car.
Photo credit: ©iStock.com/macniak, sirastock