Avoid roadside dangers with these emergency kit must-haves
Would you eat a can of dog food? Or, maybe a better question is can you imagine being hungry enough to? That’s what the Canadian Arctic rescue team advocates drivers keep in their car in case of emergency. The idea is that the driver won’t be tempted to eat the emergency puppy chow until they really need to.
Thankfully, most drivers won’t face that level of isolation, even in their most desolate situations. Nonetheless, it’s never a bad idea to be prepared—storms can pop up just as easily as can an unplanned drive to a remote location, and breakdowns, from flat tires to overheating, can be extremely dangerous without the right tools.
Getting back on the road
Hopefully your car trouble has an easy fix, but even simple repairs are impossible without the right tools. Whether you find these in a pre-packaged kit, or assemble one on your own, the following is a list of gadgets and service products that make the difference between spending the night in your car, and arriving slightly behind schedule.
- Pliers with a wire cutter: Breakdowns happen for all types of reasons. It’s important to have a par of these on hand for quick repairs. In fact, pliers can even come in handy when repairing exterior coolant leaks and your radiator, among other things.
- A 6-in-1 screwdriver: Use a screwdriver to replace your battery when it dies unexpectedly.
- A lug wrench: A lug wrench is sometimes provided, along with a jack, on new vehicles. When you need to change a tire, this will be a great help!
- WD-40: Did you know that WD-40 is a degreaser and rust remover for vehicles? It comes in handy even more than you’d think!
- Aerosol foam tire sealant or a portable compressor and tire repair kit: This one goes without saying—it comes in handy when you unexpectedly run over that rusty nail in the middle of the road
- A spare tire: For when you run over that nail and don’t have sealant.
- 6-gauge jumper cables: One of the most common car troubles is the loss of power to start the engine, either from an old or faulty battery or from leaving the headlights on by mistake. Jumper cables should help get you back in business in no time.
- 2 quarts of motor oil
- 1 gallon of antifreeze
- A flashlight with fresh batteries
In addition to the tools that will help get just about any job done, you’ll also want to make sure you have the proper equipment to be seen by other drivers and road sharers in case of an emergency—even during the nighttime.
The DMV recommends keeping roadside flares and triangle reflectors handy so that you are able to stand out beyond the pulse of your hazard lights. They also suggest moving your car completely off the road (if possible), and wearing a reflective safety vest when you must be outside of your vehicle.
In case of an accident
Of course, breakdowns are only one category of roadside drama. If you’re in an accident, there might not be time to wait for emergency services; and being prepared could be the difference between life and death. In addition to keeping important tools such as an emergency glass breaker/seatbelt cutting tool in your glove box, you should also stash a first aid kit that includes:
- Bandages of various sizes and shapes
- Cloth tape
- An eyewash cup
- Medically absorbent pads
- A CPR mask
- Scissors, tweezers, and safety pins
Since you never know how long it’ll take for help to arrive, it’s also smart to keep things like a blanket, matches, chemical warm packs, water, and energy bars in your trunk (or, of course, a can of dog food).
Don’t wait for a crisis
While some of the items in your roadside emergency kit might be familiar to you, it’s still smart to familiarize yourself with all of the equipment listed above. It’s easy to panic in traumatic events, but knowing your gear allows you to be that much more prepared and able to take efficient action.
The Department of Motor Vehicles advises that “the most important item at your disposal is your own good judgment”. While many of their suggestions, such as not standing near the edge of a highway, might seem like common sense, the unexpected can sneak up on you pretty fast.
With that being said, there’s one more thing that essential to stash in your vehicle—and that’s your auto insurance policy! The insurance experts at Avante are well versed in the art of roadside preparedness and are always happy to assist in all of your auto insurance needs. Feel free to contact us today to get a free quote.