As the weather begins to turn, it is good to double check that your emergency kit has everything you may need in the event of a catastrophic incident. Whether you are involved in an accident that causes injury or simply stranded on the side of the road in a snowstorm, it is important to be prepared. Here are a few essentials for your kit:
Spare Tire and Jack Kit
If you find yourself with a flat tire, the quickest way to get back on the road is to have a spare. A tire and tripod jack tool kit allow you to quickly and efficiently change a tire yourself. Note: It is good to know how to change the tires on your car ahead of time, rather than learning on the side of the road.
Dead batteries are one of the most common car related issues that can leave you stranded. It is important to have a pair of jumper cables to avoid this occurrence. However, you will also need to find someone with a car that runs. To connect the cables, simply open the hoods of both cars, connect the red clamps to the positive post of your dead battery and the black clamps to the negative post. Do the same with the working car battery and then start your engine. Note: You may have to wait a few minutes if the weather is cold.
Having a basic toolkit in your car can go a long way. Consider including Philips and flat head screwdrivers, a crescent wrench, a socket set, a pair of pliers, zip ties and duct tape.
Flashlight and Batteries
A flashlight is essential to your emergency kit, especially during the nighttime. Don’t forget to include extra batteries in case you are stranded for a long period of time.
Safety Vest and Road Reflectors
If you are stranded on the side of the road at night, protect yourself and others with a safety vest and road reflectors. Road reflectors will help to alert oncoming traffic that there is a hazard ahead while your reflective vest will do the same if you are outside of the vehicle troubleshooting the problem. If you have to walk to get help, make sure to keep your safety vest on at all times.
A compass can be extremely helpful if you are in an unfamiliar location and need to give or receive directions. While many newer vehicles may indicate your direction on the dashboard, a compass will still come in handy in the event of a dead battery.
First Aid Kit
Whether you are in an accident with injuries or simply cut yourself changing a tire, it is imperative that you have a first aid kit in your vehicle. A good first aid kit should include gauze, tape, bandages, antibiotic ointment, aspirin, a blanket, nonlatex gloves, scissors, hydrocortisone, thermometer, tweezers and instant cold compress.
Food and Water
Make sure you have some nonperishable food and water incase you are left stranded for more than a few hours. Something small, yet high in nutrients is ideal for kit storage and nourishment.
In the event that your car battery is still working, make sure you have a cell phone charger that plugs into your vehicle. Keeping your phone battery charged can be extremely important if you need to call for help or get directions.
A small fire extinguisher could be a crucial item if you or someone else’s vehicle catches fire. In the time it takes for the fire department to respond, you may be looking at a totaled car or even a fatality. Make sure to have this piece of equipment readily available and know how to use it.
If you get stranded or have to change a tire in the rain, you will be thankful you included a rain poncho. This cheap, easy-to-store poncho will keep you dry while you troubleshoot or walk to find help.
Cold Weather Essentials
If you are stranded during the winter months, it is important to have items like a snow brush, shovel, warm clothes, blanket, and cat litter for tire traction if you are stuck. If you are stranded with a dead battery, extra clothes and blankets may be your only way to keep warm.