If you get stranded on the side of the road with a flat tire or get into car accident, being prepared with an emergency car kit can make a big difference in getting rolling again safely. Every vehicle should be prepared with some essential items including a spare tire, jack, a lug nut wrench or tire iron, and a pipe. Parts to replace a flat tire, however, are not enough for every emergency situation so it is best to have the items you may need.
An emergency car kit should include:
- A car phone charger
- Roadside flares
- A first-aid kit
- Work gloves or latex gloves
- Two quarts of oil
- Jumper cables
- One gallon of antifreeze
- Brake fluid
- Extra fuses
- A blanket
- A flashlight with fresh batteries
- A Phillips head screwdriver
- A flat head screwdriver
- A Swiss Army knife or pocket knife
- Vise grips
- An adjustable wrench
- A pair of pliers
- A tire inflator
- A tire pressure gauge
- A collapsible shovel
- Some rags and a funnel
- A roll of duct tape
- A roll of paper towels
- A spray bottle with washer fluid
- An ice scraper
- Your membership card to emergency roadside assistance
- Triangle reflectors and flares
- Bottled water
- Storable snacks
Use a cardboard box or lidded plastic container to store your emergency items. Some items may not be necessary, depending on the climate in which you live. For example, in south Florida it is not likely that you will need an ice scraper.
There are many options when it comes to pre-assembled emergency roadside kits in convenient cases but you should check that they are complete and add any missing items.
If you find yourself in an emergency situation it is important to follow some common sense principles to stay safe:
- Make every attempt to move your vehicle completely off the road once you realize that an emergency situation has occurred/is occurring.
- If possible, stand on the opposite side of the freeway while checking your vehicle.
- Use your cell phone to call for help.
- If it is dark, turn on your emergency lights to signal for help and put on a fluorescent, reflective vest.
- If it is daylight, raise your car hood and tie a white cloth to your antenna or on the door handle of the car.
- Once you have assessed the damage, stay inside your car with the windows up and the doors locked.
- Do not accept a ride to any destination from a stranger. Stay until help arrives to you.
If you are going on a long road trip, be sure to let someone know your planned date of arrival and your approximate route.
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