Emergency planning can be stressful to some, but it’s a necessary step to ensure that you and your loved ones are safe down the road. Many people prep their homes for disaster or the unforeseen but forget to plan ahead for emergencies on the road, and that’s where it often counts the most. Whether you’re going on a trip to an unfamiliar place or are just gearing up for winter weather, it’s essential to make sure your car includes some specific tools and items that will allow you to remain safe and comfortable should an accident or other unplanned event occur. Here are four things you should include in your emergency vehicle kit:
A phone and charger
One of the most essential things a driver can have these days is a phone, since it can do so many things. Not only will it give you peace of mind to have a way to call for help should you get into an accident or find yourself stranded, it’s also a useful GPS tool that can help you find your way or lead emergency services right to you. The right phone will come with an affordable plan; if you choose one of your carrier’s prepaid phone plans, for example, you can keep your phone with you at all times without worrying about overage fees. Buy an extra car charger to keep in the glove compartment so you’ll always have power, especially during the winter months when weather can be unpredictable.
Having important paperwork relating to your vehicle is essential, because it can help you avoid legal issues if you’re involved in an accident. Proof of insurance, title and registration, and emergency phone numbers (such as for AAA or your insurance carrier) should be kept together in a folder in the glove compartment. If the car is new, keep any paperwork related to your purchase there as well, especially if you still have dealer tags. You should also include any documents obtained when financing a car, so that everything car-related is kept together.
No matter what the season, you should keep a small box of supplies in the trunk of your car for emergencies that contains a flashlight and extra batteries, non-perishable snacks, bottled water, blankets or ponchos, and flares. In summer, high water can occur unexpectedly after a storm in many areas; in winter, drivers can find themselves off the road due to icy conditions or in collisions that leave them waiting for rescue. Having supplies will make things much easier on you and your loved ones. You should also include a tool kit that contains jumper cables, items for changing a tire, scissors, and a knife, if possible.
While few of us want to think about having to administer first aid on the road, accidents of all kinds can happen and leave us needing first aid supplies. You can buy a pre-made kit or put one together yourself; it should include bandages, sharp scissors, medical tape, aspirin, allergy medication, ointment, and motion sickness medication if anyone in your family suffers with it. If you or a loved one is living with a potentially harmful allergy that could lead to anaphylactic shock, carrying an extra epi-pen is essential as well, but it will need to be stored correctly.
Being prepared is half the battle when it comes to keeping yourself and your loved ones safe, especially on the road. Having these items on hand will give you peace of mind and ease the stress of traveling in harsh conditions no matter what the season is, and it will allow you to make sure everyone is taken care of whether you’re on a week-long road trip or just a brief journey into town.
About the author: Keith is a gearhead. He has loved working on cars since long before he was old enough to drive. He shares his knowledge on Car Upkeep, a website that provides car maintenance tips. He is passionate about bringing information that will keep people safer on the roads.