Is Your Car Prepared for Emergencies?
In December, I spent about 10 days in Savannah, getting a house ready to rent. My Honda is a 2013 model, so it's not too old, and it has always been extremely reliable. I pride myself on being prepared for emergencies, but while I was in Savannah, the battery suddenly died on the car, and to my chagrin, my jumper cables were missing. (Boy, was my husband in trouble!) Fortunately, a kind motorist had cables and gave me a jump, but I should have taken inventory of my emergency supplies before I left Atlanta. Failure to do this created a lot of unnecessary stress and lost time.
With this recent hassle in mind, I am taking information from an article by Jason Richards, of Family Survival Club, and adding my two cents to the article on emergency preparedness for your car. The photo is also from Mr. Richards.
With all we have going on, it’s a great thing to have an emergency car kit. Even if you live somewhere that doesn’t get snow, like Savannah, you will find out that many of these items are great to have in your car. Furthermore, you can find all the items at Walmart. Purchase a plastic container which can contain them all. It should be compact and not occupy too much space in the trunk.
Without exception, every car should have jumper cables, regardless if it’s winter time or not. You can find them for less than $10, but I think a sturdier set will be easier to use and last practically forever.
Then, buy a can of tire sealant to fix a flat if needed. It is not a permanent fix, but it could get you out of trouble in case of an emergency.
Be sure you have a spare tire, and that it is properly inflated!
A small, 7-pound bag of non-clumping cat litter will give you traction if you get stuck in snow, or more likely, mud. All you have to do is just to throw it under your tires.
An emergency blanket might be very useful. You can find very compact ones in the camping section at Walmart. Also in that section are hand warmers, and they could be your best friends! You can use them when it's cold out or when you defrost your car.
Even if it’s not winter time, a first aid kit is mandatory in every vehicle. You can find this in a pharmacy or supermarket, and it’s packed with adhesive bandages, gauze, etc. If you or any of the family members are under special treatment, make sure you have the necessary drugs in the first-aid kit, but don't leave them in the car to get too hot or too cold.
A flashlight is another necessity. I keep a large LED flashlight in my car, and find myself using it constantly. Check the batteries regularly; the temperature extremes inside a car shorten the life on an alkaline battery.
Keep a knife in your glove compartment to open packaging or to cut yourself out of a seat belt.
Shopping and assembling the entire car kit takes approximately a half an hour of your time, and it only costs around $40. Here are a few extra tips for your winter emergency car kit.
Be sure that you removed all the packaging before you put your items in the kit. In the case of an emergency, it is a high possibility that you have no time nor scissors within reach to open them. If you need to carry your supplies with you, a backpack or a bag with a handle will be useful. Other additional useful items to store in your car could be:
Emergency triangles and flares
Bottled water, Protein bars
Ice scraper, snow brush, and a shovel with collapsible handle for easy storage
Paper towels, window washer solvent for winter
Tire chains (if you live in a snowy area, or if snow is forecast)
If you don’t have an emergency car kit yet, it's time to put it on your to-do list and try to get it done this weekend.