Anyone who has ever experienced any kind of emergency while driving understands that it can be terrifying and sometimes, even life threatening. The majority of emergency preparedness preparations people tend to focus on is that of being prepared at home. There’s not a whole lot of attention paid to being prepared when it comes to finding yourself in an emergency scenario at work or on the road. The emergency preparedness experts across the U.S. are doing their part to educate people on the need to prepare for a possible disaster or emergency outside of the home.
In order to ensure everyone’s safety on the roadways, of course it starts with proper driving techniques and basic knowledge of vehicle maintenance. Did you know? According to a survey from CheapCarInsurance.net and reported on by NBC, fewer than half of U.S. residents surveyed were completely confident they could change a flat tire. Your roadside assistance service might not always be able to get to your quickly to change a flat, or you might lose the ability to use your mobile device in a remote area. It never hurts to learn the skill of changing a flat tire.
Additionally, about half of drivers said they were either clueless or not confident in their ability to change the oil in their vehicles. 2,000 drivers were surveyed nationwide, and it seems to reflect a growing trend that basic vehicle knowledge seems to be on the decline in America. That’s a bit worrisome, especially in densely populated cities like Los Angeles. This survey indicates that there are unfortunately too many U.S. drivers that are unprepared or underprepared for a roadside emergency. This means that drivers could use some help when it comes to tips and lists of what to include in their emergency vehicle kits. Building an emergency car kit can also help protect yourself and your family. Whether you experience a simple engine breakdown, or find yourself in your vehicle in the event of an earthquake, there are some essential items to add to your emergency car kit that will increase your chances of survival. These are mostly simple items that can be purchased in most stores.
Best to Be Prepared
Sometimes, getting right back on the road is an impossibility, and so you’ll want to best prepare yourself – just in case you end up being stranded until help can arrive. There are two distinct categories of what to add to your emergency car kit: items that will help with mechanical issues with your vehicle, and items that will aid in your survival in the event of a natural disaster.
Essential Mechanical Related Items Include:
Many drivers who have a decent amount of experience on the road know that awkward feeling of having to ask a stranger to borrow their jumper cables. Jumper cables are relatively inexpensive and are absolutely essential to add to any emergency car kit. Be sure to get ones that are long enough to reach most vehicles. We recommend cables that are 20 feet. 4 gauge cables fit most cars, but make sure to double check before buying, especially if you drive a vehicle with a powerful engine.
Spare Tire and Proper Tools
When it comes to a roadside emergency, a flat tire is one of the most common issues that drivers encounter. Thankfully, this common issue is easily solved by with items that are typically found in most cars. If you’re buying a preowned vehicle, it is highly recommended that you check for at least a spare tire. There should be a car jack and a lug wrench in there as well, but if you’re buying from a private seller that might not be the case. If you’re part of half the population who aren’t confident about changing a flat, a car jack will raise your vehicle so it’s high enough to change the flat, and the lug wrench is the four sided tool that you use to remove the lugnuts on the flat tire. Most cars come with what is known as a “doughnut”, a smaller tire that you can drive up to about 50 miles on, to get you to a garage and get a new one. Some SUVs have standard sized spare tires stored somewhere on the vehicle.
Other Mechanical Related Items to Consider:
- Emergency Car Battery Charger
- Motor Oil
- Windshield Washer Fluid
- First Aid Kit
- Small Tool Kit
- Tire Pressure Gauge
Essential Survival Items for Emergency Car Kits:
Pocket Knife or Car Escape Tool
While seatbelts and airbags save lives, they can also hinder your escape if you need to exit the vehicle quickly. This is especially true when it comes to passengers like young children or the elederly. Be sure to add a sharp knife or a car escape tool to your emergency car kit.
Many vehicles, especially ones that are larger and newer, now come equipped with a small fire extinguisher just in case of an accident. First responders can’t get to the scene of accidents immediately, so it is highly recommended to protect yourself. If you are involved in an accident and some combustion does occur, a fire extinguisher could save your life, and prevent further damage to your vehicle.
Sometimes, service for your mobile device just isn’t there. Other times, your phone dies and you’ve forgotten the charger at home. For this reason, we recommend getting a two-way radio that can cover long distances (20+ miles) and that have a long battery life.
Other Survival Items to Consider:
- Snacks and Or Freeze Dried Food
- Duct Tape
- Extra Batteries
- Paper Towels
- Work Gloves
- Roadside Flares or Oranges Triangles
Everyone should protect themselves with an emergency car kit. At Otto’s European Coachworks, we recommend that you take the time to build your emergency car kit, because it could save your life!