Emergency Roadside Kit Guide
Traveling by car is generally safe, but accidents and emergencies can happen. If you are prepared, you can avoid unnecessary injury and discomfort. Being prepared can even save a life. Use this guide to make sure you are prepared in case of a roadside emergency.
Be prepared for mechanical problems by carrying jumper cables and road flares in your vehicle. If you frequently travel in rural areas without much traffic, it is advisable to also carry a jump starter. If you do carry a jump starter, check it once weekly to make sure it is charged and ready to go.
Once a month, check your spare tire. A full-size spare tire is better than a “donut” tire, but make sure that whichever type of spare tire you have is fully and properly inflated. If you get a flat, you need a spare that you can drive on.
Your kit should include two flashlights with batteries, and extra batteries. One flashlight can be a small, penlight type, but one should be a standard size flashlight. Check the batteries once a month to make sure the flashlights work and the batteries are still good.
Keep water and energy snacks in your kit. The amount of food and water you keep depends on the number of people who are usually in the car. For each person, there should be enough water and food to last 24 hours. Energy bars, beef jerky, tuna or salmon pouches, peanut butter crackers, and trail mix are good snacks to keep in your kit.
A first aid kit is a very important part of your roadside emergency kit. You can buy a first aid kit at a pharmacy or store, or make your own. Make sure the kit includes band-aids, anti-biotic ointment, gauze, medical tape, and enough of any prescribed medications to last three days. If someone in your family has asthma, an inhaler should be in the kit.
A few other items that are highly recommended include an emergency blanket for each occupant and heat packs. Emergency blankets are folded small and are easily packed. A couple regular blankets can be tossed in the trunk, for extra warmth in an emergency. Heat packs can help you warm your hands if stuck in cold weather. Glow sticks are nice to have handy to help you find your roadside kit or just for comfort, if you travel with children.
If you are driving in an area where it snows, make sure you have the necessary gear in your kit. A snow shovel and some cat litter or sand can make the difference between waiting for someone to rescue you or you being able to get your car unstuck on your own.
Make sure that your roadside emergency kit has enough supplies. If you normally travel with a family of five, you should be prepared for an emergency for that number of people.
Even though you may not ever need these supplies, you should still be prepared. Having a roadside emergency kit and never needing to use it is much better than not having one in a situation where you desperately need it.