A car is not meant to be a hammock, a hotel, or a dining room, although cars have filled these roles on occasion over the course of many a driver’s life.
Sometimes you just don’t have time to stop and eat at a restaurant, but buying a quick lunch and pulling off into a parking lot to wolf it down is always an option.
Other times, you may have thought you were fine driving late at night, only to realize through the middle of the trip that you’re ready to drop off any second, so, wisely, you decide not to endanger anyone, including yourself, and get off the road to nap.
And then there are the times when something goes wrong with your car. You may have some familiarity with car mechanics, and know what the problem is, or you may not know what’s going on at all, only that black smoke has started spewing out of your engine and even into the car through the heating vents.
Or maybe you just parked your car and didn’t realize you left the headlights on, and, because it was an older model, the lights are now dead and so is your car battery.
There are can be a ton of different, unexpected, unpredictable reasons for why you might suddenly get stuck in your car.
And now comes the big question. If this happens to you, are you in any way prepared to deal with this experience?
If you haven’t given it much thought, then read on. Then start thinking about whether or not you want to start making some space in your car for an emergency kit.
Life & Other Stuff Just Happens
Once you start driving, you’re going to be doing it for a lot of reasons. Going to school, going to work, meeting up with friends for fun, taking long road trips… there are a ton of different possibilities and we hope that you get to try them all.
But, as with anything else in life, things can go wrong, and that doesn’t mean that it’s your fault. Sometimes things just happen. You may get into an accident because of someone else, or maybe even something you did because you got distracted by the phone. Something in your car may blow out, such as a tire, or a component in the engine, and this was impossible to predict.
Whatever the case, the end result is going to be the same. You’re not going anywhere. Depending on where you are, there may not even be cellular reception for you to use your phone to get in contact with someone else for help. And if you’re really unlucky, the weather may not be cooperating.
Depending on where you are in America, you could be facing harsh desert days or nights, rains that just won’t let up, or even blizzards and sub-zero temperatures that can freeze the fluids in your car.
You know that in shopping malls and maybe even in your own home if your parents or other family members are the cautious types, there are emergency alternatives on the premises. Malls, movie theaters and other buildings have sprinkler systems and firehoses.
Your own home may have a fire extinguisher somewhere, and your family might even have an emergency food supply stored away if floods or other extreme weather occur in the region where your home is located.
There’s absolutely no reason for you not to do the same thing with your car. This is especially true if you’re driving in areas where the weather can be unpredictable and unforgiving.
We’re not saying you need to be a boy or girl scout and be able to start a fire by rubbing two sticks together, but it sure doesn’t hurt to have a blanket handy when you’re stuck in a car during a blizzard. And that’s where emergency car kits come in.
If you want to make sure you’re ready to face… whatever it is that destiny decides to throw at you, then you want to take advantage of the fact that you’ve got a lot of space. So let’s take a look at what you need and what you can get away with packing in your trunk.
For this, you’ll want to store away a few things. Here are some of the essential bits to put in:
- First Aid Kit: This almost goes without saying, but that doesn’t mean we won’t say it.
- Food: Preferably something that won’t spoil right away, and is compact, like energy bars.
- Water: This will need to be replaced every six months, but some bottles of water are always good for a variety of reasons both for nourishment or even cooling a car’s engine.
- Shovel, snow brush, scraper: Depending on which part of the country you live in, you may need one or all of these things.
- Wind Up Flashlight: You may be in need of light, and with this you can get it without batteries.
- Candle: Preferably in a deep can, so as to be sheltered from the wind, and with matches. Sometimes you may need a flame, not just light.
- Seatbelt Cutter: You may never need this, but if you’re ever in a situation where you do, you’ll be so, so happy you took the trouble to pack something away that could do this.
- Blanket: Seems like a bit much until you’re stuck somewhere. Then it’s a lifesaver.
- Whistle: High pitched sounds carry pretty well, and this is a lot more efficient than shouting at the top of your lungs if you need to attract attention.
Beyond this, also take advantage of that extra trunk space to pack in road flares, jumper cables, tow rope, and, if you’re more northerly, anti-freeze.
It may seem like this type of preparation is nerdy, or even unnecessary, but remember the old adage; it’s better to have it and not need it, then need it and not have it. If an emergency hits, any of these things can make a huge difference in how you get through the experience.
What’s In It for You?
I guess it’s easy to say that having an emergency car kit is overdoing it. You may find it unnecessary. So what’s in it for you?
The first thing I thought about is peace of mind. It’s calming to know that if anything happens to you while on the road, you’ll have something to save you some trouble. It’s not like you can predict what will happen in the future.
Besides, this can assure the people looking after you that you have something up your sleeves in case of emergencies. If you’re a teen driver, your parents will also have some peace of mind while you’re away. The same goes for your children if you’re a parent. If you’re married, your husband/wife can be at ease.
In case you get into an accident, your emergency car kit can offer fast assistance. You’ll never know where an accident will take place – it can be somewhere remote where getting to a hospital can take hours to drive to. But with an emergency car kit, you’ll be able to handle basic injuries immediately.
If the accident or emergency happened at night, you have your emergency flashlight. Stuck in the snow? You’ve got a shovel and a scraper. Need something to keep you warm while waiting for the emergency response team? You have a blanket!
Most importantly, you’ll get an opportunity to help other people. There are different kinds of emergencies and it’s not like you’re going to face them all. Accidents can happen to someone you pass by the road, who would be needing some help from someone – that someone can be you – and at times like this, you’ll be glad to know you have your car emergency kit with you.