The majority of us spend a significant amount of time in our vehicles, therefore it is prudent to keep certain items safely stored away in case of an unexpected emergency. Here are several suggestions for items you should keep as part of an "emergency kit".
1. Flashlight with spare batteries
If you break down or get a flat tire at night, a flashlight is an indispensable item. Without one, checking engine components or changing a flat can be a very difficult and frustrating undertaking. In addition, be sure to always keep a number of spare batteries for the flashlight - you don't want it dying when it is needed most.
2. First Aid Kit
Injuries, whether major or minor, can never be foreseen, and you never know what might happen while you're out on the road. Be prepared for anything from scraped knuckles to small cuts or a bee sting. Basic emergency first aid kits are available at most department stores and pharmacies, and should contain most everything you may need to treat an injury.
3. Bottled Water
In your travels, you may find yourself broke down or stranded in a less than desirable location. Having water available ensures you can keep yourself and your family members hydrated.
4. Glass Scraper
If your area normally sees snow or ice during the winter months, an ice scraper for your windows and windshield is essential. Even in these fall months leading up to winter, it is best to be prepared now rather than unprepared when you actually need it. Be sure to keep a scraper handy, you never know when you might awake to find your vehicle covered in ice or frost.
5. Jumper Cables
At one point or another, most of us have had the misfortune of a dead battery, and find that we didn't have battery jumper cables in our vehicle. Hearing that empty click when you turn the key can be a real downer, but if you happen to have a set of cables you can quickly get a jump off another considerate motorist. Having these cables in your vehicle also enables you to help someone else out in a similar situation.
6. Hand Warmers
These very small yet useful items can be easily fit into your first aid kit or glove compartment. For those of you who have changed a tire in extremely cold weather, you'll understand why we recommend these as a must-have. If you haven't - take our advice and pick up a pair! Working around your vehicle in the biting cold without hand warmers can be an extremely uncomfortable experience.
7. Duct Tape
As the saying goes, "Duct tape can fix anything". While that may not be entirely true, having a role of duct tape handy is always a good idea, providing a quick, temporary fix to an unforeseen problem.
8. Hazard Triangles or Flares
These items are for the safety of both yourself and oncoming motorists. If you break down on the side of the road, placing hazard triangles or flares behind your vehicle will alert other drivers that there is a vehicle in distress up ahead. Without these items, other drivers may not see you in inclement weather, resulting in a near-miss or even a collision. Place these items at 50, 75, and 100 feet to the rear of your vehicle, and on the side of your vehicle facing traffic.
9. Tow Rope
Ensure the rope you buy is capable of towing your vehicle's gross weight (see the owner's manual to determine this figure). Keep in mind this rope is not for extended trips and regular towing, but only to get out of harm's way.
10. Small Shovel
Many of us at some point have found ourselves stuck in some type of mud or snow. Having a small shovel handy will allow you to dig out around your tires if needed. Also, you can use the shovel to pack material in front of your tires for better traction when trying to free your vehicle.
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