Life can sure be unpredictable, despite what reality television dictates.  Things don’t always happen according to our best laid plans, and this is certainly true when it comes to owning a car.  With a car, on the road, we don’t always know what is coming next, and sometimes things happen at the worst possible moments.  If your car breaks down on a dark back road or a well-lit highway, preparedness is the best thing to combat the unexpected occurrence. 

By preparing for the worst, we are better equipped to handle emergencies as they are thrown in our direction.  Even in the days of cell phones and mobile hot spots, a roadside emergency can still be quite frightening.  While it isn’t realistic to be prepared for everything, we can try to be ready for as much as possible by assembling an emergency preparedness kit for our car.  However, there is so much that can go into these kits, and those sold in retail locations can often miss important items and bog us down with superfluous items.  There is nothing more dangerous in a dicey situation than not having the right equipment.  So what should go into the kit to keep you as safe as possible on the open road?

  1. A Good Spare – Most vehicles come with a spare tire that cannot be traveled on for great distances or at high rates of speed, but it can take you from danger to safety in a matter of minutes. Make sure your car’s spare is in decent condition, and also make sure you’ve got a jack and a tire iron.  Study up on how to change a flat on the internet or learn from a relative.
  2. Jumper Cables – Car batteries are fickle, and you never know what can send it over the edge to where it doesn’t want to work for you. If your battery goes dead, it is important to have the proper equipment to make it work again, and jumper cables are just the thing.  It is also important to know the proper procedure for jumping a car, so create a simple diagram so everyone in your car has access.
  3. Reflective Triangles – The triangles will show people coming in your direction along the highway that you’re stopped if your hazards aren’t working. They alert other drivers that there is a car stopped ahead.
  4. First Aid Kit – A regular first aid kit can be purchased from any store or assembled yourself. Important items to include are band aids, antiseptic wash, sterile gauze, ACE bandages, and alcohol swabs.  In the case of minor injuries, immediate treatment can be the difference between comfort and infection.
  5. Flashlight – If you’re stranded in the dark, it may mean walking somewhere in the dark as well. You can’t avoid injury or pitfalls without a flashlight.
  6. Tire Gauge – You can’t properly measure tire pressure without a tire gauge. While some newer cars have a tire pressure monitor in their standard equipment, there is nothing as reliable as a hand reading.
  7. Duct Tape – Tremendous repairs have been made with duct tape and it also has several other uses that can be helpful should you be stranded.
  8. Water Supply – Having several bottles of water in the trunk of your car can be the difference between survival and dehydration. It’s not going to matter if they are warm or cold, as dehydration doesn’t discriminate.
  9. Blanket or Extra Coat – If you’re stranded in the winter, the elements can wreak havoc with our well-being. By having an extra coat or blanket in your trunk, you may save yourself from exposure related illnesses if your car can’t provide heat.
  10. Protein Bars – While it isn’t likely, stranding can happen over days and you don’t want to be without food. Including some protein bars or nuts in your glovebox can assist in your survival if you’re out there for an extended period of time.  They’re also helpful if you’re lost and the kids get hungry!

We can’t be ready for everything that can go wrong in life, and we certainly can’t anticipate every scenario.  In order to ride out a fender bender or a flat in the middle of nowhere, it’s important for us to stay safe, and your emergency preparedness kit could be the difference between a tragedy and an inconvenience.