Taking a road trip can be the start of a great adventure, but if the unforeseen occurs during your drive, it pays to be prepared. If your emergency kit consists of a screwdriver and compact umbrella, it’s time for an upgrade. Having a set of tools and equipment on hand can help you get out of a tight spot and back on the road quickly. With just a few items, your and your passengers will be ready for whatever challenges the highways and byways may bring!
#1. Flashlight and Batteries
While it would be convenient to only have accidents in the daytime, it’s very likely that it will be dark when your car needs attention on the road. Even with the sun shining, there may be times when you need to look under the hood or beneath the vehicle, and having a flashlight with fresh batteries lets you see what you’re doing. A headlamp is another great option since it leaves your hands free for tightening lugnuts or attaching jumper cables.
#2. Compact Umbrella
The only thing worse than fixing a flat in the dark is doing it in the rain or snow. With no way to block the precipitation, you’re likely to get drenched! If you need to walk to the nearest gas station, an umbrella quickly becomes invaluable. Choose a compact umbrella for your emergency car kit so it doesn’t take up too much room but is still large enough to keep you dry during the worst storms.
#3. Road Flares and Reflectors
You need to let oncoming traffic and emergency vehicles that you’re stuck on the road, even if it’s during the day. Flares are powerful enough to be seen in bright sunlight and are very easy to use once you know how. Include some triangle reflectors as well. These inexpensive plastic props are relatively inexpensive and, when used with flares, can cordon off an area and protect you from other cars as they pass by.
#4. First Aid Kit
Injuries are a common result of accidents, so make sure you have a first aid kit available for any minor scrapes and cuts. It should at least include traditional bandages, antibiotic ointment, alcohol wipes, and an elastic bandage to cover the basics. There’s no telling how long you may be stuck, so it may also be a good idea to have some non-perishable food and water for when the tow truck takes a long time to arrive.
#5. Winter Gear
If you’re heading out during colder seasons, there are a few things you may want to bring on a road trip in addition to your compact umbrella for the snow. They include:
- Ice Scraper
- Collapsible Shovel
- Emergency Blanket
- Gloves and Beanie Hat
- Hand Warmers
- Lighter/Waterproof Matches
Trying to change a flat in the cold or waiting for help to arrive when temperatures drop can be a dangerous situation if you aren’t well prepared.
#6. Air Compressor
While a flat tire is a manageable emergency, it still isn’t a fun one. Many drivers turn to pressurized tire sealants to fix a flat, but those products are not as safe as they seem. They can ruin your rims and make flats dangerous and possibly costly to repair. Instead, make sure you have a spare handy to replace a flat one, and keep an air compressor in your kit to see if you can potentially re-inflate the bad tire or top off the replacement.
#7. Jumper Cables
A dead battery may leave you stranded in a parking lot or driveway, waiting under a compact umbrella in the rain for help. With a good pair of jumper cables, all you need is a good samaritan to give you a quick jump and you’ll be on your way. Look for thicker cables that are soldered to the connectors so you know there’s solid contact and you’ll get a good flow of electricity into your battery.
#8. Cable and Zip Ties
Getting into an accident may leave your car in bad shape, but it may still be drivable. Putting bungee cables and zip ties in your kit means you’ll be able to secure loose car parts until you can make it to the mechanic. Even duct tape can work in a pinch, securing your bumper or damaged body panel in place for long enough to get repaired.
Survive the Drive
A flat tire or minor fender bender can ruin your day, but if you aren’t prepared it can be even more of a headache. Make sure you have an emergency kit in your vehicle just in case the worst should happen. Even on shorter trips, having some tools on hand can mean the difference between wiring for a ride and getting home on time. Once you’ve gotten preparations in place, you can spend less time worrying about accidents on the road and more on what kinds of adventures you’ll have at your destination.