You want your family to be safe and sound, so you buy a car with high marks for safety ratings. You drive carefully. Before turning, you check both ways – twice. You always wear your seatbelts and make sure car seats are strapped in properly. You check the tires and the gas and the oil. You can do everything humanly possible to prevent an accident or incident but, as we all know, we’re only human, accidents do happen, and machines can break down. Sometimes it’s completely out of our control: a deer running into the road, a drunk driver, a patch of black ice on a winding road, a distracted teen, a nail dropped on the asphalt. But what we CAN control is what we have in the event of an emergency.
Here are 5 categories of supplies we recommend you have in your car at all times. You can always have more if you’d like, but we stripped down items from this excellent and thorough blog from commonsensehome.com to what we think are the essentials.
- KNIFE (with window breaking tip and seat belt cutter) – Keep this knife within arm’s reach and secured in the vehicle. Not going to do you much good in the trunk if your car flips!
- DUCT TAPE – “Duct tape isn’t a tool!” Psh… it’s the best tool to have. Duct tape can hold together your car and even save your life if you’re seriously injured. Put on your MacGyver hat, there are dozens of uses for duct tape. Don’t leave home without it.
- FLASHLIGHTS – If you’re pulled off the road and need extra visibility for oncoming traffic, it’s super helpful to have multiple flashlights. Keep one secured and within reach at all times in case you are trapped or injured and need to signal for help.
- FIRST AID KIT – Get a kit with more than just your standard bandaids and Neosporin. This one is excellent for keeping in the car and has labeled compartments for everything, making it easy to see what you need when you need it and for quick restocking.
- PORTABLE BATTERY CHARGER – Having one of these charged up and ready to go can be a real lifesaver if you’re in a pinch.
- JUMPER CABLES – These cables are always good to have on hand, whether for you or for helping out a stranded motorist (use some caution helping strangers, don’t do this alone or in remote areas).
- SCISSOR CAR JACK – Check to see if your vehicle has a car jack. Familiarize yourself with it and how to use it. Nothing worse than being caught in the dark/rain trying to figure out how to work one of these. If you don’t have one, here’s a good one to order.
- TIRE IRON – Again, check to see if you already have one. Know where it’s located in your car. Need one? Here’s a universal lug wrench.
- TISSUES/TOILET PAPER – These are just handy to have in case of “emergency” or for one of those endless colds.
- WOOL BLANKET – Aside from keeping you warm even when it’s wet, a wool blanket can be used to put out a fire or as a sleeping mat.
- WATER – Keep a gallon jug of water in the trunk (or just out of the sun) and secure it to avoid spillage. If temperatures outside are freezing, remove 15-25% of water to allow for expansion.
- FOOD – Toss some granola bars, protein bars, meat jerky, dried nuts and berries or other non-perishable items into a gallon sized ziplock and store it out of the sun. If you break into your stash because you’re feeling snacky, make sure you replace what you take.
To learn more about items to put into your emergency car kits, please check out this blog from commonsensehome.com which we used for research for this article.
Please drive safe and be prepared for anything!