Assembling A Car Emergency Kit-To Be On The “Safe” Side

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Probably the two most important things to have in case of an emergency is a calm attitude and a good working cell phone (They can often go out on you; I basically meant the cell phone, but sometimes you can lose your cool, too! But at least you may still be able to place a call-or two-for help).

When disaster strikes, the following items will get you to the nearest gas station or keep you alive until help arrives. You should assemble this kit ASAP, so you don’t one day wish you had.

The essentials are:

Emergency Cell Phone-This is strictly for 911 situations-no charging or service fees required. Some brands (or types) have side buttons that’ll activate a siren.

Duct Tape-I call this “miracle tape” because it can be used for so many things. Your car’s no exception; If it’s hit, duct tape can temporarily hold things together. And then some.

Flashlight-A must-have for map reading, roadside repairs and emergency signaling.

Basic Scraper-Get one that can clean away both snow and ice.

Reflecting Triangles (or Flares)-Used to signal for help or divert traffic. You also want to make sure you’re visible if doing a roadside repair.

Space Emergency Blanket-This is the type of blanket you want (or something similar). It’s made of NASA-developed materials. It folds up very small, but will keep you very warm.

Aerosol Tire Inflator-If you have a slow leak or a small hole, this will get you back on the road without an expensive tow. You can also buy a complete tire-changing kit, but if it’s getting dark outside fast and/or you’re alone, I’d opt for the faster tire inflator and get moving ASAP!

Traction Panels (or Mats or A Board)-There are lightweight metal grid panels that go under the drive wheels to get you out of sand, ice, mud or slush. A good sturdy board will also provide under-tire traction if you’re stuck.

Car Battery Charger-You won’t need jumper cables with this, for the device renews your battery by the cigarette lighter (it’s one-time use, however).If you still prefer to use traditional jumper cables, do so. But the charger’s easier and faster.

Empty Gas Can-A one-gallon jug can be filled with enough fuel to get you back on the road. And isn’t that the whole point?

Fire Extinguisher-A very important item, for obvious reasons.

First-Aid Kit (And Your Prescriptions)-Keep an easily accessible one with bandages, a gel pack for burns, anti-septic pads, Tylenol, etc.

Tow Rope-Look for The Emergency Tow Strap (or something similar), which works for most full-size cars and trunks. This comes in handy if someone stops to help. But I would still use extreme caution here (If it’s a friend or someone I know pretty well, or an authorized AAA mechanic or policeman that I called earlier on that working cell phone, then I would personally feel safer).

The Life Hammer-It’s less than seven inches long, weighs just three ounces, and can fit under the driver’s seat. But it’s an awesome force. If your car ends up underwater or you’re trapped in a wreck, this device can be used to break open a window or cut through a seat belt.

Additional Information

Here’s What You Should Keep In The Glove Compartment: Detailed maps of frequently-traveled areas and a compass, Copies of health insurance cards and car registration, a 24-hour roadside assistance phone number (such as AAA), auto insurance ID number, an emergency phone number, car owner’s manual, and windshield anti-fogging/anti-icing cloths.

In a canvas tote or duffel bag in your trunk, keep some non-perishable food, like energy bars and bottled water, a sturdy pair of walking shoes, bungee cords, chemical hand and boot warmers, and leather-palm work gloves.

Your tool kit should include: a pair of pliers, assorted-size screwdrivers, an adjustable wrench, electrical tape, light-gauge wire, a jack, a spare tire, sandpaper (to clean corroded battery cables), rags or paper towels, fuses, and two-three gallons of water in case your car overheats.

Before going anywhere, you yourself can check (and should) the battery charge, tire pressure and fluid levels (including air coolant and windshield-washer (or wiper) fluid. Also check the windshield wipers, belts, hoses, and all lights and signals. A qualifiedmechanic should inspect the engine, brakes and tire rotation.

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