Car Emergency Kit Guide
A car emergency eventually happens to all of us. It doesn’t matter if you are on a highway with a ton of traffic or traveling on a rural side road with no other cars around for miles, you know you’re in trouble the moment your car gets sidelined by a flat tire, dead engine, accident, or other incident.
Depending on your personality, reality might make you start to worry. A million questions likely come into your head the moment you realize you’re stranded — including if you have phone service or who you should call for help, can you trust a stranger to provide aid, and your exact location so you can direct someone to help you. But the first thing you should do is breathe. Take a deep breath, because it’s time to truly take stock of the situation.
A parent or guardian likely told you that you needed to have an emergency kit in your car when you were learning to drive, and you’ve likely heard the same advice from other sources throughout your life. While it’s relatively easy in the modern connected world to simply tap a few buttons and call for roadside assistance, it’s also a good practice to ensure you always have a few items on hand in case a problem arises. Here’s what you should have in your car in case of an emergency.
Car Emergency Manual
The car manual is a great place to start when you have questions about your vehicle, and can be especially helpful if you break down. These little booklets come with your car and tell you everything from the nitty gritty specifications about the seat belts that were installed all the way up to the type of gas you should use, how to check fluid levels, and tire air pressure. Keep your manual in your glove box or under your seat for quick reference in the event of an emergency.
Spare Tires & Kits
Many cars come with spare tire compartments underneath the lining in the trunk, underneath the vehicle, or attached to the back door. Make sure you have a jack and the appropriate tools in case you have a flat, then learn how to use them so you know what to do in the event of an emergency.
Bonus tip: Check the air pressure in your spare tire a few times throughout the year. They lose air over time, and keeping yours inflated to the correct PSI will be especially helpful when encountering a flat tire.
Tire Patch kits, Duct Tape, and Flares
You never know when a flat tire might be from a tiny nail hole and could be easily patched on your own to get you home. Duct tape can have many small fix applications to quickly repair something and get you back on the road, and a flare is a great way to safely direct traffic away from your broken-down vehicle to avoid further complications.
If you’ve ever had a battery die on you, you know jumper cables are a must. Few motorists carry them and finding someone to help you jump your car can be difficult. Carry your own to avoid that problem.
Non-Perishable Food Items and Water Bottles
Throwing a few protein-packed granola bars and bottles of water into a container in the back of your car will be a huge benefit if you’re ever stuck waiting for help to come. You’ll most likely be helped within an hour or two, but we’re thinking about a true emergency — like getting stuck in a snow-storm, which might necessitate that you remain in your car for several hours. Make sure the bottles stay out of direct sunlight to keep them as fresh as possible.
Blanket, Extra Shoes & Warm Clothes
On that note, it’s always good to carry a few extra warm items with you. This is especially true in the winter, as you never know when you might hit an ice patch and end up in a snowbank or wind up in an accident with another motorist who isn’t being as cautious as you on a snowy road. Have a blanket, an old sweatshirt, sweat-pants, and some dry shoes tucked into your trunk just in case.
The modern era of Google Maps and other map apps is great, but what happens when you break down and don’t have service or your battery dies? Having a paper atlas in your car gives you a backup plan, allowing you to figure out where you are and direct a tow truck or other help to the right place.
First Aid Kit
It never hurts to carry band aids, medical tape, gauze, cleaning wipes, antiseptic cream, baby powder, ibuprofen, feminine hygiene products, stomach issue relief tablets, and other common medical items. They don’t take up a lot of room, and will all come in handy if you’re stranded and in need of basic medical attention.
A Spare Cell Phone
Even if it hasn’t been in service for years, keeping an old cell phone charged and in your glove compartment can be a godsend in an emergency. Old cell phones are able to call 9-1-1 even if they no longer have other capabilities, giving you a life-line in the event that you are in real trouble.
Having emergency supplies in your car may seem excessive, but you’ll be happy you have each and every one the moment you break down and need them. It’s always better to be prepared for an issue than to break down and wish you’d been more prepared!
Call a Professional
When you do find yourself stuck on the side of the road out of gas, or have a flat tire, engine issues or are otherwise unable to drive your vehicle, call a professional towing service you trust! Roadside Services Towing of NWA is always on call to help you should you need assistance, and that’s 24 hours per day, seven days per week — no matter the time of day and on weekends and holidays.