Car Emergency Kit
Have you ever asked yourself if you need a car emergency kit? If you have ever asked yourself that question and decided it wasn’t worth the effort, you should reconsider. Everyone who owns a car should have at least a basic kit in the car in case of an emergency. If you drive in remote areas it’s even more imperative that you have a car emergency kit with you in case the unthinkable happens.
We’ve all read the stories where someone ran into a situation on a back road and had to survive for a few days with nothing more than what they had with them in the car. If you have an emergency kit with you then your chances of survival in this situation are increased substantially. As with all your other preparedness items, you never want to have to use them, but if you need them they will save your life. Even for a short drive, you may be involved in an accident or another emergency.
Where do I start?
If you have never put together a kit before you may want to purchase a commercial kit and then add items you think you will need. If you are the do-it-yourself type, you can buy a nylon storage bag and pack it with accessories. Whichever way you go, be sure and know how to use all the items in your car emergency kit. For instance, it’s great to have a set of jumper cables in your car. But would you know how to hook them up safely should you need to use them? If not, learn how before the need arises. Items in your kit won’t help you survive an emergency if you don’t know how to use them.
What should I have in my car emergency kit?
Whether you decide to purchase a car emergency kit or put together your own, there are items that you should have in your kit should the need arise. Here are some things to have in your kit:
- A flashlight and spare batteries are definitely on the list. Make sure to check the flashlight and batteries at regular intervals to make sure they are still in good working order. You don’t want to break down in the dark and not be able to see what you are doing.
- A first aid kit is great to have should you be in an accident in a place where emergency response may take some time to get to you. This will help you deal with minor injuries until help arrives.
- Road flares can help signal trouble and make other drivers aware of a disabled vehicle. This is especially important at night should you not be able to get the care completely off the roadway.
- As mentioned before you should have jumper cables and know how to use them.
- A pocket knife or multitool can be handy if you need them. The multitool can replace some tools in a toolkit. However, it is suggested to carry a small tool kit as well for doing basic repairs. At a minimum and hammer, assorted screwdrivers and an adjustable wrench are advised.
- A small shovel and a small container of sand or kitty litter are good things to have should you become stuck. The shovel can be used to dig out a tire. Sand and kitty litter can be used to gain traction in icy conditions.
- Speaking of icy conditions, in winter you need additional items such as a heavy jacket, a blanket, hand warmers, gloves, a warm hat, etc. Believe it or not, candles can be used to warm the inside of a vehicle compared to the outside air. Candles can also be used with a metal canteen cup or can to melt snow for drinking water. Waterproof matches can be a lifesaver if it is raining or snowing.
- Think about a crank style or maybe a solar powered cell phone charger. Murphy’s law states that your emergency will happen just as your cell phone charge goes to zero. Being able to charge your phone to call for help will be important should the need arise.
- Keep a small supply of dried foods such as nuts or trail mix in your kit. Also look at energy bars for calories. Keep some bottled water to prevent dehydration in a prolonged emergency.
I have my car emergency kit. What Now?
Once you have your kit assembled don’t just toss it in the trunk and forget about it. You should practice a mock emergency at home where you are safe and able to take the items out and get familiar with them. Set an alarm on your phone to check your kit at some interval. Whether it is monthly, quarterly, etc. Just make sure to replace any items that you use as soon as possible. Make sure all the items are in place. Making a checklist and keeping it in the kit is a great way to check that all items are there.
Having a car emergency kit can provide you with peace of mind that you can survive should you experience a major emergency. It will also give you added peace of mind that you won’t have to track someone down with basics like jumper cables should you come out to find a dead battery.