Whether you’re on a winter commute, taking a summer road trip, or a day trip with the kids and the dog, it’s never a good time to be stranded on the side of the road. That’s where an emergency car kit can help you save the day. You’ll fill it with essentials to help you weather a range of mishaps. It’s tucked safely in your trunk for some peace of mind. Your car should already be equipped with a spare tire, jack & lug wrench so just make sure they’re in good working order.
READY.Gov (www.ready.gov/car) suggests keeping these items as an emergency road kit for your car:
ü Jumper cables
ü Flares or reflective triangle
ü Ice scraper
ü Car cell phone charger/Battery pack charger
ü Maps (in case no cell service or phone dies)
ü Cat litter or sand for better tire traction*
*low-cost tire traction matts are also available online and in auto departments
Here are a few other car basics that are good to include:
ü First aid kit
ü Fire extinguisher
ü Duct tape (such a great invention!)
ü Road flares
ü A bit of cash for gas or another essential
ü A multi-purpose tool
ü Snacks like protein or granola bars
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Now it’s time to customize your kit to make it fit your life. You’re normally prepared for the short trips but a bit of back up in the trunk can go a long way to easing stress. Here are some other potentially helpful areas to consider:
Medicines--A couple spares (especially, if they’re time sensitive)
Babies--Formula, bottle, a few extra diapers, sample size diaper cream/wipes, spare pacifier, change of clothes
Kids--A few small toys, spare blanket, stuffed animal, pull ups, change of clothes, note pads/pens, deck of cards
Pets--Pet food, water, collapsible bowl, leash, chew toy, towel, treats
Miscellaneous--Trash bag, sunscreen, collapsible shovel, umbrella, ace bandage, disposable rain poncho(s)
You’re the best person to decide what goes into your kit because you know your life. For instance, if you have an older car that’s starting to go through oil, keep a spare quart and a funnel in your kit. If you live in the desert, you may not feel the need to include rain ponchos but if you’re in Portland, Oregon, rain gear can come in handy. Along these same lines, it’s also a good idea to make sure all your emergency contact numbers are up to date in your phone (insurance, roadside, doctors, etc.).
Now that you’ve assembled your kit supplies, you’ll want to keep them in durable container like a clear plastic storage bin with a secure lid. Some have used the zipper bags that come with blankets or sheet sets since they’re usually a thicker plastic and completely close. Bungee cords can secure it from moving around. Check your kit and refresh your supplies at least once a year (twice is better) so your meds are current, and snacks are in good condition for whatever the road throws your way. Remember to replace anything that you used.
Though you never want to have to use this kit it’s great to have if you ever need it. A stashed away diaper can be a very helpful thing for unexpected events! Whether for a road emergency or an “Oops, I forgot the diaper bag” emergency, a few backup supplies can go a long way in making a day go better.
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