By Anna Demetree
Think about how often you drive each day. Whether you’re going to work, the grocery store, shopping or picking someone up, you rely on your car to take you wherever you need to go. Having troubles with your vehicle and being stranded on the side of the road during these times is inconvenient at a minimum and, at times scary to terrifying given the specific circumstances. An emergency car kit can significantly cut down on the stress of the situation.
Here’s a rundown on the essentials you need in your kit:
- Spare Tire, Wheel Wrench and Tripod Jack
It’s time to apply those handyman skills you learned from dad back in the day! Knowing how to change a tire is crucial when it comes to car emergencies. If you’re stuck in the middle of nowhere without cell service, it’s up to you to change that tire and get back on the move. Keeping a spare tire with you and all the tools needed to place it onto your vehicle will save you a lot of time and worries.
- Jumper Cables
There’s nothing worse than running late and jumping in the car only to discover that it’s failing to start. Every driver should keep a jumper cable in the trunk in case of an incident like this. If your car battery is dead, you won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.
- Tool Kit
You never know when you’re going to need a tool kit, but when the time comes, you will be glad you have it with you. The odds you will find a screwdriver in the middle of a dirt road probably won’t be in your favor.
- Flashlight and Batteries
Yes, your phone flashlight works pretty well, but what if it’s dead? What if it’s nighttime and pitch black outside? The light on the roof of the car probably won’t help much. It’s always a good idea to keep a flashlight with you in case of times like these. But wait, what if the flashlight is out of batteries? Voila, you pat yourself on the back for putting those batteries in your middle console the other day. Go you!
- Drinking Water
If the car breaks down many miles from civilization, especially in hot weather, you may have a walk in your future. Stay hydrated.
- Food (non-perishables like protein bars, nuts, or dried fruit)
You never know how long it will take to fix a problem with your car, or how long you will need to wait for someone to arrive to help you. Be prepared and keep nonperishable food in your glove compartment in case you’re hungry or need energy.
- First Aid Kit
You may need to play doctor if someone gets hurt, and there’s no one else to help. Keep a first aid kit with you at all times, even if you simply need a bandaid or some Aspirin.
- Fire Extinguisher
Let’s hope this never has to be used, but you never know. Side note: Don’t forget to turn off the car when you’re getting gas!
- Duct Tape
You can repair and hold a lot of things together with duct tape. Whether your side view mirror is about to fall off, or your windshield is cracked, duct tape is the perfect temporary fix.
- Cold Weather Items (ice scraper, blanket, snow shovel and cat litter)
Cat litter? That’s right. Cat litter is a great way to give your tires traction. It can break down the ice without using any harmful, man-made chemicals – not to mention it’s pretty inexpensive.
- Raincoat or Poncho
Your car breaks down, or you get a flat tire, and you’re getting soaked from the rain while trying to fix it. That’s a double whammy. Make sure to keep a raincoat in your car so you can at least stay dry during times like these.
Auto insurance protects you against financial loss during the time of an incident. It provides coverage for medical, property and liability purposes. You will be glad you have it during times like these. Here are some reasons why:
- It’s costly to fix or replace your vehicle if you get into an incident or it’s stolen.
- Medical bills are expensive if you or any passengers in your vehicle are injured during an incident or crash.
- There is a chance others may sue you if you’re responsible for their injuries or damage to their car.
- Some states require owners of vehicles to have auto insurance.
“Roadside break downs, lockouts, getting stuck or running out of fuel can be very unsettling situations,” advises TrustPoint Insurance Agent, Jessi Boles. “Being prepared by having an outline of what to do and who to call for assistance can help drivers and passengers stay calm in these situations.”
According to Boles, most carriers now offer roadside assistance either with your policy or an add-on option.