Whether you break down on the side of a country road or simply need a warm blanket after a cold, wet hike, having the right equipment in your car can prove invaluable. Keep the following items with you at all times to ensure you are prepared for every situation.
Flat Tire Equipment
One of the most important items to have with you is a spare tire in good condition. You also need a tire jack and tire iron to make use of the spare tire. If you have never changed a tire before, pick a sunny day and practice in your driveway or a parking lot that is not busy. In addition to a spare tire and jack, also consider a tire pump and sealer, which will let you plug a slower leak and avoid having to change the whole tire on the side of the road, which can take a while. After you make it home or to an auto body shop, change out the patched tire for a new one. One last piece of tire equipment is a tire gauge, which is the size of a pen and can fit in the glove compartment box for easy access.
Everyone should carry a set of jumper cables with them. Most of us know that sinking feeling all too well when the car will not turn over from a set of headlights or cabin lights that were left on overnight. Just like the spare tire kit, it is important to know how to jump start a vehicle before attempting to use a set of cables out on the side of the road in an emergency situation. Additionally, you can use a battery booster to get the car started, which may be necessary if you get stuck way out in the country where there are no other vehicles.
Emergency and Safety Kit
While many of these items may never be used, which would be a good thing, if you ever do need a flashlight or extra emergency water, the few minutes it took to gather them up and put them in the trunk of your car or rear of your SUV will seem like one of the smartest things you have done in a long time.
- First aid kit;
- Headlamp or flashlight;
- Multi-tool and a knife;
- Matches, lighter, and a candle;
- Energy bars, other nonperishable food, and dry dog food. The dog food is not for your dog. In case you “accidentally” eat the energy bars or other snacks during a normal outing, the dog food will remain for purely emergency situations. No one is so hungry after a bike ride or gym workout to eat a bag of dog food. Yet, if you get stranded for days in the winter, the dog food become vital;
- Two or more gallons of water;
- A weather radio;
- Seat belt cutter that is easily accessible;
- Window breaker that is easily accessible in case you need to an emergency evacuation through a window. Often, in bad accidents or if the car is submerged in water, exiting through a door is not possible; and
- Flares and a reflective triangle to put on the road behind your car if you break down in the dark.
Winter and Cold Weather Kit
The following essentials are a good idea to have even if you do not live in a cold area. If you travel to the mountains, out of state, or if a bizarre winter storm blows in, you will be glad you were prepared.
- Chains. If you do not have experience putting on chains, it is a must to learn how before you need them. Putting a never-used set of chains on when it’s freezing cold outside can be incredibly difficult and frustrating. Make sure you have practice beforehand;
- Old carpet, cardboard, or tarp to lie or kneel on when putting chains on. This can also double as a traction device to put under your tires if you get stuck in the snow or mud;
- Mylar space blanket for emergencies;
- Old wool or fleece blanket. Choose wool or synthetic over cotton, which will not keep you warm if it gets damp; and
- Old jacket, hat, and gloves or mittens.
The Federal Highway Administration reports 5.5 million motor vehicle collisions annually, and 93 percent of those collisions are caused by human error, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. If you have been injured in an auto collision, contact an experienced San Diego car accident attorney at The Sargent Firm Injury Lawyers for legal advice today.