Americans spend a lot of time in their vehicles. One study reported the average American spends eighteen days in our cars each year! Think about that for a minute, that is more than two weeks. With the holiday season rapidly approaching, many of us will be spending even more time on the road. But what happens when unexpected trouble threatens to ruin our plans? Are you ready for an emergency? Like it or not, it is impossible to predict when we might find ourselves stranded on the side of the road. The difference between a minor inconvenience and a major disaster could be as simple as being properly prepared.
So how do you prepare for the unexpected? It isn’t realistic to lug around every tool you may need for every possibility, but you can gather a few readily available items to make a simple kit that will cover you for the more common emergencies. Most authorities recommend your kit include 9 items:
- Battery booster (jumper) cables or a portable jump starter
Familiarize yourself with the proper placement of jumper cables to avoid damage to your vehicle’s electrical system. Make sure to keep the portable jump starter charged.
Even a light blanket will provide some protection from the elements. Space blankets also provide a reflective surface.
3. Emergency multi-wick candle and matches or a lighter
A single multi-wick candle can provide sufficient heat to prevent hypothermia in a standard-sized automobile.
4. First aid kit
This should include an ACE bandage, antiseptic, and super glue for small lacerations.
5. Flashlight with extra batteries
Whether it be a large flashlight or your phone, make sure you have adequate light.
6. A basic set of tools with duct tape
Having your own set of tools in your vehicle will allow you to make quick temporary repairs without having to wait for anyone to come help you.
7. Drinking water and a stainless steel cup
In the winter, snow can be melted in the cup using your emergency candle.
8. Ice scraper and brush
Hassle-free way of getting rid of snow and ice on your car. When temperatures drop, it’s important to have a tool that can take layers of ice off with minimal effort.
9. Road flares
Road flares are a great way to warn oncoming traffic if you’re in the way.
In addition to these items, be sure to periodically check your spare tire to ensure it is inflated and in good condition. Familiarize yourself with the location and operation of your vehicle’s jack and tire-changing equipment. If your vehicle is equipped with special locking lug nuts, be sure you know the location of the required key.
The unexpected is, well, unexpected; but it doesn’t have to be unprepared for. So, take a few minutes and gather the supplies you will need to keep you and your family safe while on the road.
Dr. Scott Bontrager is our new experience provider for our Preston, Idaho clinic. To learn more about Dr. Bontrager, please visit our website.