Statistically, driving is a surprisingly dangerous proposition, which is why it is vital that you have a car emergency kit in each vehicle. Most people spend a lot of time behind the wheel, whether it is your daily commute or a long road trip. Regardless of where you are, a roadside emergency car kit provides a number of benefits.
Car emergency kits are especially important if you live in an area that gets a lot of precipitation, especially hard storms or a lot snow. A common mistake is to not a have a car disaster kit be you think that you are a great driver in adverse conditions. Just because you might be a great driver in the snow, the car next to you may not be. To make matters worse, even if they cause you to get into an accident, they won't always stop to help you out, which makes your emergency kit the only guarantee. The only thing you can control is whether or not you are prepared. Even the best drivers get into accidents once in a while, which is when your winter emergency kit really comes in handy. Most often it is when you least expect it. A patch of black ice that you didn't see or just bad luck can quickly turn a great day into a long, drawn-out waiting game.
Creating a Car Emergency Kit Requires Flexibility and Forethought
If you have made an emergency car kit checklist, then you may have already discovered some of the hurdles that you will need to overcome. Unlike creating a survival kit for your home, there are certain limitations to creating a car emergency kit that you need to keep in mind. They can all be grouped into two categories: space and location.
Your Car Survival Kit Has Space Limitations
The most obvious limitation is that you simply don't have the same amount of space to store a car kit that you would in your home. The best car survival kit will find a way to utilize a limited amount of space, while still providing you with everything that you need. In your car the only extra space you have is in the trunk or your back seat. It never seems like your vehicle has enough space, but that doesn't mean you can skimp on your car kit.
Getting Stranded Without a Car Survival Kit is Stressful and Unsafe
Without a well equipped kit, you could have absolutely nothing. No food, water, tools, or anything to help you stay warm. Every year there are tragic stories about people who get stranded without any emergency provisions in their car and never make it out. In many cases, the valuable items in a winter car kit could have changed the outcome.
New Tracking Technology Isn't a Reason to Ignore the Importance of a Car Disaster Kit
One of the biggest reasons that many people think that they don't need to keep emergency supplies in their car anymore is because of modern technology. You have cell phones, GPS tracking devices, and roadside assistance. Unfortunately, there are times when none of this will help you which is when you will need a car survival kit the most. Cell phone batteries die at the worst possible times. There is no guarantee that you will get stranded in an area where you will get a cell phone signal anyway.
You think that you don't need a kit because many vehicles have built-in GPS technologies or 3rd party navigational devices that include GPS tracking. Unfortunately, if your car isn't running, then the batteries run out of juice very quickly. Plus, you can't leave your car running because the last thing you want to do is to run out of gas. In these types of situations, a quality emergency kit becomes your best friend.
5 Things to Include in Every Car Emergency Kit
There are a few things that should always be a part of your emergency checklist.
The Best Emergency Car Kit Has Food and Water
When most people think about building a car emergency kit, they immediate focus on tools like jumper cables or an oil funnel. While tools are vital, so is having enough food and water to get your through a tough time. No one expects to be stranded on the side of the road for a day or more - but it happens and a car emergency kit will prove to be invaluable. In fact, one the most common reasons that people stray from their broken down vehicle is in search of food and water, which one reason that a car emergency kit is so important. You don't need a weeks-worth of food, but you should have a few calorie-rich foodstuffs, such as energy bars. It is even more important to have clean water.
Keep Something in Your Car Emergency Kit to Help Stay Warm
Every car disaster kit should have a few items to help keep you warm. This is especially important if you are building a winter car emergency kit. Since space is limited, try to avoid bulky winter coats and opt for a survival blanket or body warmer. Having a poncho is helpful as well because rain is just as likely to cause a serious accident as snow.
A Car Emergency Kit Needs the Right Tools
You can't be expected to carry a tool for every situation in your car, but there are a number of versatile tools that should be in your car emergency kit. From a safety perspective, items like reflective ground triangles and a reflective vest can keep you and your car from getting hit by another driver when visibility is low. Try to include other tools in your kiy that can be used in a variety of circumstances such as an oil funnel, jumper cables, tow rope, and duct tape.
Be Prepared For an Accident By Adding First Aid Supplies to Your Kit
It might surprise you how something simple like sliding across some ice into a ditch can cause major injuries. Your car survival kit needs to be comprehensive enough to deal with injuries that can become worse without treatment. For example, if you get a cut because your head slammed into the steering wheel or the windshield, then you need to be able to stop the bleeding and prevent infections. Even a basic first aid kit can be a life-saver.
A Car Emergency Kit Should Include a Way to Stay Entertained When You Are Stranded
Finally, you need to have something to do. Playing games on your cell phone isn't an option once your battery dies. Having something as simple as a deck of cards can help you get through the long hours before help arrives. Don't underestimate the power of an active mind.
What to Do Once You Receive Your Car Emergency Kit
Once you receive your roadside emergency kit there are a few things that you need to do. First, you should take some time and familiarize yourself with its contents. This will ensure that you have everything you need, plus it will also give you a chance to make sure that you know what every tool is for. Second, find a place in your car that you can always get to. In general, you should avoid the trunk if your backseat doesn't fold down because there is no guarantee that you will be able to open your trunk to get to your kit after an accident. If you drive into a ditch full of snow, you may not even be able to open your doors. It doesn't matter if you have the best emergency car kit if you can't get to it.
The best part is that you can complete both of these steps within a matter of minutes. Hopefully you will never use your car emergency kit, but you should be prepared when you do.