Todd’s Note: This guest post considers an emergency kit that you should keep in your car. Although this topic has been done before, it is necessary to revisit this topic from time to time. Considerations needs to be made regarding your part of the country and climate. In Texas, I would not leave food in my vehicle, it gets too hot. Also, I wouldn’t carry around a snow shovel. 😉 The point is that you decide on a list of items that you need to carry in your vehicle. You need to think about possible scenarios that you might encounter. As a result, you can be better prepared!
With in-dash GPS systems, onboard computers and cell phones, it’s too easy to let your guard down when driving today. On the open road, situations arise requiring more than a map search. The following items keep you safe and get you back on the road fast when trouble strikes. I’m not talking about road flares and jumper cables. These are items you don’t know you need until it’s too late.
Crank Up a Flashlight
According to market research from IBIS, Americans spend over $6 billion a year on towing services. Many tows could be avoided with a simple roadside repair, but you can’t fix anything if you can’t see what’s wrong.
Now, you may already have a flashlight, but are the batteries still working after months in your trunk? A hand crank flashlight doesn’t need batteries. It runs on a charge generated by turning a crank on the side of the flashlight. Just crank it up, and get to work on your car.
Stash Some Cash
Breakdowns happen when you least expect, like when your credit cards are maxed out. Stash a twenty-dollar bill in your emergency kit, and you’ll save more than face. It could keep your credit rating from dropping. If you suffer from low credit and already need poor credit auto financing, this is a life saver.
Inflate Your Own Tires
Many new cars today don’t carry a spare tire to cut weight and create trunk space. Yet AAA says it responds to over 1.1 million calls to fix flat tires during the summer alone. With your own A/C compatible air compressor, you don’t need to call a tow truck for a slow leak. Simply inflate the tire enough to drive to a repair shop.
Fix a Flat with Tire Sealant
Tire sealant is another quick way to fix a flat tire when you have no spare. Stash a can in your spare tire well, and it could save the day. Just inject the sealant into the tire for a temporary fix and drive to the repair shop.
Stock Up on Emergency Food
In 2012, five people died in their cars which is almost half of all winter-related deaths, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Stock a few emergency rations in your vehicle so if you get stranded by a storm, you and your family have food to stay alive.
MREs (meals ready to eat) and military rations including prepackaged brownies, trail mix and granola bars will last months. Stash the food inside a plastic bag and put it in the spare tire well. You may be glad you did.
Shovel Yourself Out of Trouble
If your tires become caught in slippery mud or sand, a shovel is an indispensable tool. The best option is a foldable shovel. One will fit right inside your trunk, and you’ll them find at military surplus shops and camping stores.
Pull Yourself Out of Trouble
When your car is stuck in a ditch, or really deep mud, a tow strap really comes in handy. Just hook your car to another four-wheel drive vehicle, and you’re back on the road without paying hefty towing fees.
About the Author: David Ready
David is an auto mechanic who specializes in hybrid and electric vehicles. When he’s not working or blogging, he can be found hiking the mountains of California.
This article first appeared on Ed That Matters.
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Just saw this on Pinterest. I have some of the items in my car, but funny enough I never thought to store some food just in case I am stuck for a long time. I also don’t have a flash light because I have some candles and matches, but a flashlight would be a good option in case I need to leave my car at night. I also have a blanket in my car and those pocket heating pads. Last winter I got stuck on ice and couldn’t get off of it without my tires spinning, so I had to wait about 45 minutes in the cold car until my husband arrived with sand. I used those pocket warmers and my blanket to help keep warm while I waited for him to arrive.
instead of a single blanket i would opt for a sleeping bag rated for 0 and a few emergency space blankets and don’t forget water. even if frozen it will thaw if you place it in the sleeping bag with you. you don’t have to put it next to your skin as the warmth generated inside the bag will get the water thawing. and even if it’s really cold that’s a whole lot better than eating snow. lots of food isn’t a big deal. keep crackers and peanut butter or power bars on hand. candles even a few will help generate heat inside of a car. tea lites are fantastic for this.
As a mechanic for over 40 years, (and a prepper for longer than that), I agree with everything you said here. But up here in big-city Canada, I can guarantee that if you leave a GPS on your dash- or anywhere visible- a crackhead will break into your car and steal it! Hell- they will break in just to see if there is any loose change in your ashtray! Anything visible in the car will attract their attention. (But perhaps this neighborhood is just making me paranoid).
most people when stuck in winter storms die either trying to hike out and freezing to death or staying in theircar and getting co poisening. if you must walk out, do it after storm stops and in daylite. be sure where you are at. if you stay in your car don’t run it continually, also get out and clear tailpipe area to prevent fume buildup.
Regarding the items needed in your car, blanket food water, flashlidght etc., I would strongly suggest a gun. If you are having to spend some time waiting for help to come, what would you have to protect yourself from physical harm or death? The gun will be the difference between you being raped and/or killed, or going home to your family…alive and well. Your gun will be your best friend….it will kill the bad guy or guys and you will go home safe and alive.