A roadside emergency can happen at any time, whether your car is new or old. At best, it’s an annoyance; at worst, it can compromise your safety.
With winter upon us and the threat of snow storms looming, being prepared with a basic emergency kit can increase your safety, reduce stress, and help you get back on the road faster.
How many of you have a blanket in your car to keep warm, or kitty litter to provide tire traction in the snow? The following Car Emergency Kit checklist that will help prepare you for any emergency the road might throw your way.
- Battery-powered radio and extra batteries
- Plastic flashlight and extra batteries (reverse batteries when not in use to prevent accidental burnout; replace yearly)
- Blankets or sleeping bags
- Booster (jumper) cables
- Fire extinguisher (5-pound, A-B-C type)
- Bottled water
- Nonperishable, high-energy foods: granola bars, raisins, peanut butter, etc.
- Compass and road maps
- Dry clothing, gloves or mittens, winter boots
- Telephone card and quarters for phone calls (consider carrying a cell phone)
- Sack of sand or cat litter (for tire traction)
- Rope (to tie yourself to the car when leaving your vehicle during a storm)
- Assorted bandages, dressings
- Adhesive bandage
- Adhesive cloth tape
- Sterile gauze
- Instant cold compresses
- Roller bandage
- Absorbent compresses
- Large plastic garbage bags to insulate feet, and safety pins/duct tape to hold bags in place
- Pencil and paper
- Tow rope or chain
- Three-pound coffee can, matches and candle stubs to melt snow for drinking water
- Metal cup for water
- Flares and reflectors
- Tire repair kit, air pump, basic tool kit
- First-aid kit with essential medications
- Antibiotic and hydrocortisone ointment, antiseptic wipes, eye drops
- Breathing tube with one-way valve for mouth-to-mouth resuscitation
- Oral thermometer (non-mercury, non-glass)
- First-aid instruction booklet
- Aspirin, ibuprofen, etc.
If you think some of the items on our checklist are over the top (perhaps the rope to tie to your car if you need to leave it during a storm or the supplies for melting snow into drinking water), just think back to Our storms in 2009. Remember all of the drivers stuck out on the highways (route 340 in particular), waiting for hours to be rescued? Many of them would have been a lot more comfortable with just a few of these supplies on hand.