Will You Be Prepared for an Emergency on the Road?

Roadside emergencies are inevitable. The question isn’t if, it’s when. Will you be prepared? If you drive at all, at some point in time you will be faced with a roadside emergency. A broken fan belt, a dead battery, a flat tire or leaking radiator are just a some of the things that can happen when you travel. No one can predict when they’ll have an emergency along the road. The best you can do is be prepared.

A minor emergency, such as a flat in the middle of the day when you can use your cell phone to call the nearest mechanic, is one thing.  But, having a major emergency, such as the same flat tire in the middle of the night in a blizzard with no cell phone service, well, that’s the sort of emergency you want to be prepared for. Even if you don’t know much about how to fix your car, you can be prepared to do small things such as add water to the radiator or oil to your engine or jump your battery. But, if its more than you can handle you can be prepared to wait it out.

When planning for a roadside emergency, you want to think of two emergency kits; a personal kit and a car kit.

Your Personal Kit should include:

  • Drinking water
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Walking shoes
  • An extra pair of socks
  • Non-perishable foods such as snack bars, granola, nuts, etc.
  • Blanket
  • Coat
  • Boots
  • Warm gloves
  • Hat
  • Rain poncho
  • First aid kit

Your Car Kit should include:

  • Jumper cables
  • Flash light with extra batteries
  • Work gloves
  • Spare tire (filled), jack and lug wrench
  • Fire extinguisher
  • One gallon jug of water
  • Ice scraper
  • Multipurpose tool, such as a Leatherman
  • Small shovel
  • Kitty litter or sand to use as traction if you are stuck in the snow
  • 2 quarts of motor oil
  • Paper towels
  • 3 road flares or reflective warning cones or triangles
  • Duct Tape
  • Windshield washer fluid
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Rags

If you’re traveling for a long distance you will want to pack a personal kit for other family members, as well. Especially when you travel with children, you will want to pack the items they may need if you are stranded for a period of time. Remember items such as:

  • Formula
  • Baby food
  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Diapers
  • Extra clothes
  • Blankets
  • Mittens
  • Hats
  • Warm shoes and boots
  • Stroller or other carrier
  • Games (to keep your kids occupied)

The best thing to do when preparing your kits is try to imagine if you were stranded and couldn’t get home for hours. Remember, you will be without electricity, heat, or other comforts of home. What would you want in your car if that were the case? Even small roadside problems can be difficult. A short trip across town could leave you stranded if something happened to your car. You’ll want to be prepared as best you can be for these situations so you can return home safe and sound.

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