Breaking down while driving can be unnerving, potentially delaying trips and stranding motorists and their passengers for lengthy periods of time. However, for those with well-equipped emergency preparedness kits in their vehicles’ trunks, breakdowns can be much easier to manage.
Even though new vehicles are loaded with advanced technology, drivers are no less likely to avoid breakdowns. In fact, roadside calls for stranded vehicles are on the rise. A study by the American Automobile Association found that, in 2015, 32 million drivers required the organization’s services, with issues regarding vehicle batteries, flat tires and vehicle keys reaching all-time highs. Despite early warning systems, more than half a million drivers in the United States ran out of gas last year, necessitating service calls.
An emergency vehicle kit is something that no driver should leave home without. Just because a car appears to be in good shape or is well-maintained doesn’t mean something can’t happen. Here’s what to stock in an emergency preparedness kit for a vehicle.
Sustenance: It’s impossible to determine how long you may be stranded if your vehicle breaks down. Therefore, keep some high-calorie energy or protein bars, or other portable foods with long shelf lives, in your vehicle at all times.
Water: Popular Mechanics says a person needs roughly a gallon per day to stay hydrated. If that’s too much to pack, bring empty water bottles and purification tablets. Otherwise, stock up on bottled water.
Weather supplies: You never know which way the weather will turn. A blanket, poncho, tarp, trash bags, and much more can be used to keep covered, warm and dry.
Mobile phone: Mobile phones can be used to call for roadside assistance or other help. But keep in mind that cell signals may be especially weak in remote areas.
Reflective triangles: These items will warn oncoming traffic that your vehicle is on the side of the road.
Waterproof flashlight: A flashlight is handy for making repairs at night or signaling traffic in the dark.
Foam tire sealant: Tire sealant can be used to quickly repair flat tires until they can be assessed or changed at a mechanic’s shop or dealership.
Tire jack: You may need to change a tire on the spot.
Jumper cables: If a vehicle battery dies, a quick jump can get you moving along. Some people prefer a portable battery charging pack instead.
In addition to these supplies, a multi-tool, batteries, first-aid kit, rags, ropes, and duct tape are handy to have around.