You can’t anticipate every problem that you may encounter on the road. But you should always be prepared for a breakdown or accident.
Unfortunately, many drivers fail to carry the items that could help them get back on the road quickly and safely, or assist others involved in an accident. A roadside emergency kit is something that every driver should have on hand.
For Basic Car Problems
Remember that both summer and winter pose challenging driving conditions and a breakdown can happen at any time. Always be prepared for common car troubles like a dead battery, an overheated engine, flat tire or a blown fuse.
- Emergency reflectors and flares
- Small fire extinguisher
- 12-foot jumper cables
- 2 quarts of motor oil
- 1 gallon of antifreeze
- Extra gas tank
- Brake fluid
Let’s talk for a minute about the last item on this list. If you’re alone, on the side of the road, with a flat tire, for example, you will need a light that can shine on the immediate area and allow you to have your hands free. It’s best to keep a small hand-held light in your glove compartment for quick access. Plus, you should store a battery-operated lantern or headlamp with your emergency kit. Make sure that both have a set of fresh batteries and keep a pack of new batteries with your tools.
For Temporary Repairs
You should also keep a small toolbox in your vehicle with some key tools just in case you find yourself needing to fix your vehicle. If your car unexpectedly breaks down, you may not be able to fix it on the side of the road. Hopefully, you can at least get it running well enough to get to a safer place and call a tow truck, mechanic or reliable auto body shop.
Your toolkit should include:
- Extra fuses
- Vise grips
- Adjustable wrench
- Pocket knife
- Pressure gauge
- Small compressor for tire inflation
- Work gloves
- Duct tape
- Ice scraper
At this point, you might be thinking, “Why should I carry all these things around? I’m not a mechanic!” Even if you’re unsure of how to repair a car, you may find someone who can help if they have the right tools. For simple fixes, you might even be able to find a short video online that explains how to remedy the problem.
It never hurts to be prepared for the unexpected. So, pack an emergency kit with the tools and supplies listed above. These items are the basic necessities to make a wide range of temporary repairs.
For All Types of Emergencies
Unfortunately, collisions and emergencies are not uncommon. Whether you are heading out on a long road trip or a short commute to the office, you never know when you might be able to help another driver or passenger in need. That’s why we should all be ready to help whenever possible.
Your onboard emergency kit should have the following items:
- First aid kit
- Medical tape
- Antiseptic cream
- Instant ice
- Heat compresses
- Set of latex gloves
- Clean towel
- Paper towels
It seems that emergencies never happen on a sunny day. You will also need to be prepared in case of extreme weather, a breakdown or other emergency situation leaves you stranded or stuck in your car for a period of time. Even if you just have to wait until help arrives, it’s best to be prepared.
Make sure that you have these items in your car at all times:
- Extra charging cable or backup battery source for cellphone
- Large bottle of water
- Non-perishable food item
We also recommend that every driver takes a moment to review “What to Do after an Accident”.
Where to Stow Emergency and Repair Kit
You will want to keep the emergency and repair items all together so that they will be easy to find when and if they’re needed. Most vehicles have enough space in the trunk to stow your roadside kit. You can use a bag or a box with a lid. It’s important that the kits be stored securely. Tools should never be allowed to roll around inside the car while driving.
Always Be Prepared
Take the time to get familiar with the tools and supplies that you’ve packed. In case of a breakdown or collision, you will need to know what you have on hand, where it’s stored and how to use it. Practice changing a flat tire and review some of the common mechanical issues that can leave you stranded. If you have children who drive, be sure that they have a roadside emergency kit in their car and teach them these basic temporary repairs.
We can never know what problems we might encounter on the road, but with a little preparation and trunk space, an emergency roadside kit may just save the day.