Are you prepared for a roadside emergency?
Updated: Jan 3
The basics and not so basics of packing a good emergency kit for your vehicle
Whether you are planning a road trip, or just want to be sure you're always prepared for the unexpected, a vehicle emergency kit is a great way to keep yourself and your precious cargo (passengers) safe. While no one can fully guard against every road hazard or emergency, a well stocked and maintained emergency kit can potentially get you back on the road, treat an array of medical emergencies or just keep you more comfortable while you wait for roadside assistance to arrive. In this article we will give you some great ideas for building your own vehicle emergency kit.
Here are a few ways to ensure you are prepared for hazards that may come your way.
Item #1 - First Aid Kit
This one you'll want to keep well stocked and regularly inspected for expiration dates and content quality. The great thing about a first aid kit is not only the wide range of premade kits available, but the ability to personalize it to your health concerns or those of your passengers. Depending on your trip companions, you may want to bulk up the supply of your headache medicine of choice before heading on an extended road trip.
Here's what the Red Cross has to say about First aid kit contents: https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/anatomy-of-a-first-aid-kit.html
Item #2 - Small Tools
A few things that can help you when you are in a bind is some small everyday tools that can be easily found in most any large store. Flashlights and spare batteries, fire extinguisher, duct tape, sturdy pliers, a legal pocket knife and/or a multi-tool make for a pretty solid start. Consider adding a charged portable phone charger in case you need to call for help and your phone's battery is low. Many times these items can get you out of a jam.
Item #3 - Simple Maintenance
Packing a few basic maintenance or quick fix items is always a good idea. A few items to consider would be a quart of vehicle appropriate engine oil, coolant, jumper cables or a jump pack and a tire plug kit with a means of reinflation. In addition, we recommend regularly checking and maintaining the spare tire and associated items for changing a flat tire that are already in most vehicles.
Item #4 - Roadside Safety
Should you find yourself stranded at the roadside or needing to try to perform roadside maintenance, there are a few emergency kit items that can help you do this with increased safety and comfort. Flares, reflectors, reflective clothing or accessories can all assist with visibility to help make other drivers aware of where both you and your car are situated, and can help alert your need for assistance. A poncho can also be helpful in case maintenance must be performed in inclement weather.
Item #5 - Basic Survival
No one wants to be stuck at the roadside for an extended period of time, but sometimes that's just the way it is. If you're stuck in dangerous weather it can even be life threatening. Items such as a compass, paper map, non perishable food and safe drinking water could potentially be the difference between a vehicle emergency and a health emergency.
Item #6 - Prep for the weather
Whether you are anticipating extreme heat or cold winter weather, your kit can help you overcome the challenges these weather extremes can present. In the summer, sun screen, a sun shielding hat, portable ice packs and a means of creating some personal shade can all help. If you're traveling in winter, a container of sand/salt mix can help if you find yourself stuck in snow or on ice. Personal hand/foot/body warmers pack easily and work for hours to keep your body warm. An extra layer of clothing including winter hat, gloves, coat, socks etc can also assist in keeping that critical warmth. Extra blankets can help keep that heat in.
All in all there are many things you can keep in your vehicle to ensure you set yourself up for success in the face of the unexpected. We hope you all stay safe out there! Remember, you're all precious cargo to our family.