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Seven Things Any Car Emergency Kit Should Have

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On: Mon, Jul 22, 2013 at 7:17AM | By: Bill Wilson

Seven Things Any Car Emergency Kit Should Have

There’s an old saying that goes something like this: “Hope for a sunny day but prepare for a storm.” This adage certainly applies to automotive travel. Today’s motor vehicles are safer and more reliable than ever before. But, despite this, mechanical trouble and accidents still occur.

For this reason, it just makes sense to put together an emergency kit for your vehicle. It doesn’t have to take up a huge amount of space or cost a great deal of money; a simple box or other container with the basics will do nicely for most drivers. Here’s a look at what the kit should include:

1. Jumper cables– These are an absolute must. Batteries lose charge for all sorts of reasons, from lights being left on to loose terminal connectors. A quick jump-start can usually bring the vehicle roaring back to life, but only if a set of cables is on hand. These vary significantly in quality, so buy the best you can afford.

2. Reflector signs– These are also essential for any emergency kit. A disabled vehicle can be nearly impossible to see at night, especially if the oncoming driver is tired or distracted. Flares can also be used, but they go bad after a time and are also a fire hazard.

3. Flashlight and extra batteries– A bright flashlight can make all the difference when trying to determine the cause of a breakdown. Spare batteries should be kept in a clear plastic bag to avoid losing or misplacing them.

4. Windshield scraper and/or defrosting compound– Though the weather may be warm now, it will turn cold again soon enough. So prepare for later by putting these items in your emergency kit. Never, ever dump hot water on an icy windshield; doing so could cause it to crack.

5. Gloves– If nothing else, these can save cold hands from frostbite. Cloth gloves are better than rubber ones when it comes to insulation, but are less effective at protecting the hands from battery acid and other corrosives. You might want to keep both types on hand.

6. First aid kit– Even if it contains just a few bandages and some antiseptic, one of these can hold infections at bay and provide comfort until more advanced medical help can be obtained.

7. Rags– These are useful for wiping away grease as well as checking oil, steering, and transmission fluid levels. Old tee-shirts or scraps of cloth work fine.

Additional items to consider
While not everyone will want to carry these products, they may prove useful for some motorists, especially those who live in remote areas or places with severe climates.

1. Food, drink, and medications– Military surplus dealers sell nutrition bars and other items that stay fresh even when they’re kept in sweltering summer heat. Even a few packs of snack crackers and bottles of water can stave off hunger, though. Both over-the-counter and prescription medications are good items to include in a more advanced first aid kit.

2. Blankets, warm clothes, and/or sleeping bags– Breakdowns can occur any time of year, and a sub-zero winter’s night is no time to realize you should have dressed warmer for your trip.

3. A tool kit with a few spare parts– If you’re handy with auto work, you might want to keep a ratchet/screwdriver set, a pair of pliers, and perhaps extra belts or hoses on hand for unexpected situations.

Think of your emergency kit as being like insurance. You hope you’ll never need it, but it’s good to have on hand just in case you do. Stay safe and enjoy your time on the road.

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