Most drivers have a basic emergency kit they keep in their ride, with things like jumper cables, emergency cones or flares, and a jack for changing a tire. While these items are essential for traveling safely, there are numerous things you should keep on hand in case the unexpected strikes while you’re on the road.
We’ll break down some emergency supplies most people overlook that could be critical. From tools to help you get back on the road to essential survival gear, you’ll be prepared for anything after reading this guide.
Cover the basics first
Before you rush out and load up on the lesser-known items, make sure you have the essentials covered. This includes the things mentioned above, like jumper cables, but make sure your spare tire is properly inflated and in good condition, too. Keep up on basic vehicle maintenance to help reduce the chances of an emergency.
Food and water
Keeping extra food and water in your car can be invaluable during emergencies. Stick with snacks that will keep (like canned food) and have high calories like chips or jerky. Keeping at least one gallon of water on hand is recommended, but if you have space, you can never have enough. Especially if you’re traveling in remote areas, keeping food and water in your car can help you survive a rescue situation.
First aid kit
Every vehicle on the road should have a first aid kit. From bandages to an extra cache of medication, you can’t be too prepared. Especially if you’re embarking on a long road trip, make sure you have a wide selection of first aid supplies as the nearest treatment options could be hours away.
Items to help you escape
Car window hammers and seat belt cutters can help you get out of your vehicle quickly in the event of an emergency. Some car headrests are designed to be removed and used as a window hammer, but it’s often difficult to remove them in a high-pressure situation. Keep a window hammer and belt cutter in your center console, so they’re always within arm’s reach.
Many stranded motorists end up that way because they’ve become trapped in mud or snow. Luckily, there are things you can keep on board to help get your vehicle free from a sticky situation. A shovel is useful year-round for removing snow and mud from around tires. Cat litter or sand is a valuable addition in the wintertime to provide traction on snow and ice. Keeping a tow strap or two on hand can also help remove your vehicle from a sticky situation.
Portable starter batteries are a great piece of technology to jump-start your ride without anyone else around. You can charge most models at home or on the go, and you’ll have just enough juice to get back on the road if your battery dies.
Don’t rely on your phone
Cellphone reliability is hit or miss, and you should never fully count on yours to get you out of a jam. Keeping a flashlight in your ride can help you save the battery on your phone in an emergency. A battery-powered or crank radio can help you stay alert to changing conditions without draining your car battery. Consider adding an emergency beacon if you frequently drive on remote roads.
To successfully navigate an emergency, you’ve got to be willing to think outside the box. While you can be underprepared for an unexpected event, it’s difficult to be overprepared. Consider your route, weather and nearby amenities when planning your emergency kit. You’ll never know when it could come in handy!
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