With road trip season almost upon us, now’s the perfect time to take action and sort out an emergency kit for your car.
While hopefully most of us won’t ever need to use it, it’s important to be prepared. Even minor issues like a flat tyre or – in my case – getting lost, can lead to drama and dampen a holiday road trip.
This month before schools break up for holidays and businesses close down for Christmas, get organised and make sure your car has everything it needs for when things don’t go according to plan.
Here’s my plan on how to create the ultimate car essentials kit. If I’ve left anything out or if you have other tips, please share them with us in the comments below.
Think about your needs
When putting together your car essentials kit, consider what you will need in an emergency. This includes:
- First-Aid Kit – Remember to add any special medication that might be needed to treat an allergic reaction or a specific health condition. You can read suggestions on what to include in a first-aid kit in my previous blog.
- Food and water – If you get stuck on the side of the road, chances are you will get hungry. Sadly BandAids will not be much help to you. Make sure your kit has non-perishable food like energy bars and some bottled water.
- Baby wipes – Wipes won’t save you in a major accident but could be a great source of help when you need to go to the bathroom in the middle of nowhere or have a messy spill to clean up.
- Blanket – If you’re waiting for help and the night is getting chilly, you’ll be glad you packed a blanket. Alternatively, it could come in handy if you’re forced to have a roadside picnic or stumble across some injured wildlife.
Prepare your car
Once you’ve sorted out what you and your passengers are likely to need, think about your car. Most of us probably already have a lot of these things but just in case double check your car has a:
- Fire extinguisher – For putting out electrical fires etc.
- Wire and duct tape – Useful in securing broken exhaust pipes, sticking down wayward panels and damaged bumpers.
- Jumper cables – Easiest way to revive a flat battery is to jump-start it with another (healthy) car.
- Owner’s manual – Probably forgotten in your glove box, a vehicle manual should be able to guide you through some basic trouble-shooting.
- Road maps/street directory – If you’re out of reception and lose your way, a road map will be able to lead you back to civilisation (if that’s where you’re headed).
- Spare tyre – You’ll save yourself a lot of time and hassle if you keep a spare tyre and tools in your trunk, especially if you’re planning a trip off the beaten track.
Get ready to raise the alarm
While most of us would use our phone to call for help, it’s a good idea to stock your car with some back-up alternatives in case your phone runs out of battery or has no reception. These include:
- Whistle – You won’t be able to call a doctor with a whistle but it could help you attract attention and get help.
- Warning light/road flares – These will help you make sure your car is visible at all times, regardless of the weather conditions.
- Torch – Torch light is much better than a phone when it comes to checking engines and also useful in alerting others to your situation.
Now you’ve taken care of your car, what about your home?
DOWNLOAD: Get started now by downloading our Car Essentials Emergency Kit checklist.
Do you have other essential items that you keep in your car? Tell us what they are in the comments below.