We have a new driver in our family. Our daughter Amina just got her license a few weeks ago and she just got her own car last week. Over the next few weeks, our daughter will be learning how to change a tire, connect jumper cables, and a few other car related odds and ends.
Like it or not, emergencies on the road are inevitable.
If you drive at all, at some point in time you will be faced with a roadside emergency. A flat tire, a broken fan belt, a leaking radiator, or a dead battery are just a few of the common occurrences we can expect when we travel. No one can predict when they’ll have an emergency along the road. The best we can do is to be prepared at all times.
Having a minor emergency, such as a flat tire in the middle of the day when you have a cell phone handy and a friendly neighborhood mechanic on the way, is one thing. Having a major emergency, such as the same flat tire in the middle of the night in a blizzard with no cell phone service, well, that’s the sort of emergency we want to be prepared for. Even if you’re not a mechanic, there are certain things that you can use to help yourself during a roadside emergency.
When preparing for a roadside emergency, you want to think of two emergency kits; a car kit and a personal kit.
Your Car Kit should include:
- Work gloves
- Jumper cables
- Fire extinguisher
- Flash light with extra batteries
- Duct Tape
- Multipurpose tool, such as a Leatherman
- Paper towels
- Windshield washer fluid
- Tire pressure gauge
- 3 road flares or reflective warning cones or triangles
- One gallon jug of water
- 2 quarts of motor oil
- Small shovel
- Ice scraper
- Kitty litter or sand to use as traction if you are stuck in the snow
- Spare tire (filled), jack and lug wrench
Your Personal Kit should include:
- Walking shoes
- A pair of socks
- Drinking water
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Non-perishable foods such as granola, snack bars, nuts, etc.
- Warm gloves
- Rain poncho
- First aid kit
Pack a personal kit for other family members, as well. If you’re traveling with children you will want to pack the items they may need if you are stranded for a period of time. Remember items such as:
- Baby food
- Extra clothes
- Warm shoes and boots
- Stroller or other carrier
When preparing your kits, try to imagine if you were stranded and couldn’t get home for hours. Remember, you will be without heat, electricity, or other comforts of home. What would you want in your car if that were the case? Even a minor roadside emergency can be difficult. And, even a short trip across town could leave you stranded if something happened to your car. Prepare the best you can for these situations so you can return home safe and sound.