A car related emergency is often stressful and may even be dangerous. Preparing for these emergencies can make the situation safer, easier to fix, and less stressful! A fantastic way to prepare is by keeping a few key items in your car. We’ve put together a list of items to keep in your car, regardless of the season. In the winter, consider bringing a few extra seasonal items. In the event of an accident, breakdown, or other emergency, these items can help you stay comfortable and safe.
Spare tire and equipment
Even in the nicest weather, having tire problems is so deflating! If you feel excessive vibration or bumpiness, it’s time to take a look at your tires. Vibration, bumpiness, or noise can indicate a flat tire. Make a habit of checking your tires for bulging spots or worn tread. That will ensure you aren’t surprised by a worn-out tire on the road.
If you do have tire issues while out and about, you’ll need a few things:
- A spare tire, to replace the damaged one. Make sure it’s pumped up!
- Tire changing tools and accessories, including:
- A car jack, to lift the car allowing you to remove the wheel
- A lug wrench, to remove the lug nuts
- Wheel wedges or blocks, to prevent the car from rolling away
- Work gloves, to keep your hands safe and clean
- Reflective triangles, to warn passing cars of your stopped vehicle
You’ll also need to know how to change your tire. Printing out clear instructions or watching an instructional video can save you time and frustration. Having these items - most of which may already be in your car - can turn an emergency into a minor inconvenience.
We all know that sinking feeling when the car won’t start. There are a few causes, the most common being a dead battery. If your radio, headlights, or other electronics aren’t working properly, this is a sign that your battery has run low. Also, if you turn the key and hear either nothing or a slow chugging sound, this almost certainly means your car battery needs a charge!
Maybe the headlights or your dome light were left on accidently overnight, or perhaps the battery needs to be replaced. Either way, a set of jumper cables can usually fix the situation. It’s important to use jumper cables correctly, so write down instructions to keep in your car or ask your mechanic for a quick lesson.
A cell phone is a great tool to have in a car related emergency. It can take pictures to document an accident, provide a light source, allow for emergency communications, access online maps, and much more. But it only works when charged! Having an external phone battery can be a huge help in an emergency — just remember to top up the battery in the external phone charger before you go.
Extra clothing or blankets
Even if you’re just going for a quick drive, it’s a good idea to have a blanket in the car. You may also consider keeping a set of spare clothes as well. This is especially important in the cold seasons but is also relevant in the summer. The blanket can come in handy for many situations – as a seat cover; as protection for transporting something fragile, or of course, to keep someone warm. Changing a tire or dealing with any other car related problem isn’t necessarily something you want to do in your nice dress or white shirt. Similarly, if you have to walk further than you thought, it’s nice to have comfortable walking shoes instead of high heels or those uncomfortable boots!
First aid kit
A first aid kit isn’t only for serious scrapes and sprains. A first aid contains many useful items you don’t have with you all the time. Need to open a bag? A first aid kit probably has scissors. Have a headache? Check for some medication. Spilled your coffee? There’s probably a wet wipe in there too! Some other things to make sure you have in your first aid kit are:
- Adhesive bandages
- Triangle bandages
- Rubber gloves
- Medical tape
If you purchase a high quality first aid kit and keep it well stocked, it can get you out of many sticky situations.
Yes, we mean paper maps! If your phone or navigation system stops working, having a paper map can be a lifesaver. While maps might not be necessary for your everyday commute to work, they can be super helpful for road trips, where the roads are unfamiliar. Paper maps also may list important amenities such as gas stations, stores, and mechanics. If you keep a few maps in your glovebox, you won’t regret it.
Food and water
Having emergency food and water in your car can be a lifesaver in dire situations, but it’s also nice to have some extra snacks and bottled water for when you might’ve missed your breakfast. Non-perishable snacks like granola bars, dried fruit, nuts, and crackers will keep well in the car and are compact enough to stay in the center console or glovebox. The water, in addition to drinking, is great if anything needs a quick rinse. Tip: Keep water in a non-BPA container and store it out of the sun.
Pink slip and vehicle registration
Your glove box should house a copy of your proof of insurance, or pink slip, and car registration. Your car dealership usually registers the car for you, but it’s your responsibility to purchase insurance for the car. If you need insurance for your vehicle, contact your local insurance experts at BrokerLink Insurance. The team is ready to help you find great insurance to fit your needs. You can reach us by phone, stop by one of our local branches or get a quick quote online.
Being prepared pays off
Taking a bit of time to prepare for unforeseen events can mean the difference between a disaster and a minor inconvenience. Having an emergency car kit will help keep you and your family as safe as possible.