A Quick Guide To Automotive Emergency Essentials
Driving is a basic part of our lifestyle, and whenever you’re out and about, it’s best to be prepared for emergencies. From running out of gas to running off the road, what you have in your car – and the insurance coverage you have on it – can mean the difference between a major disaster and a minor dilemma. Keep reading for insight on things you should prep from your glove box to your trunk.
While a piece of paper can’t stop an accident, having a copy of your insurance card and any pertinent medical information handy is important. If you don’t have vehicle insurance – or your insurance isn’t great – it’s time to take a closer look at what’s available. Look for an insurer with a positive AM Best Rating, which measures the financial strength of insurance providers.
You should also keep a card with pertinent medical information and/or allergies for all family members that routinely ride with you. Doing so can help you communicate special needs with emergency service providers if you are not able to speak.
Phone and apps
It’s pretty obvious, but it’s worth mentioning that your phone is a big deal in an emergency. You can use your GPS to navigate, which is crucial during or after a weather event, such as a blizzard, flood or tornado, and you can always call for help if you need it. It’s also a way to check on changing conditions if a storm is heading your way or you come upon road construction.
If your phone is older, it might make sense to switch to a newer model. Not only do newer phones have more capabilities to run things like weather and traffic apps, but the battery life is also generally superior on the latest versions, so if you get stranded you won’t be worried about your phone dying on you. Similarly, if your current service provider has spotty coverage, you may want to change cell phone companies, too.
First aid kit
A first aid kit is not difficult to assemble. A small waterproof container with gauze, bandages, OTC pain medication, hand sanitizer, and a battery-powered radio can get you through most minor emergencies. If you live in an area prone to subzero temperatures, pack several hand and body warmers along with extra hats, gloves, and a thermal blanket.
Water serves multiple purposes during an emergency situation. First, it can be used to clean wounds. You can also use water to keep your vehicle cool if you find yourself with an overheated engine and you don’t have access to coolant. Next, if you are stranded for days without access to food, you can sustain on water – in fact, water is arguably more important than food. Your body can use your fat stores for energy for weeks, but Medical News Today explains you can only go without water for a matter of days.
Make sure to change out your drinking water every couple of months, and check often to ensure that any water stored out of sight has not sprung a leak.
A spare tire can keep you moving if you get a flat on a back country road. If you don’t have space for a spare, there are products, such as Fix-a-Flat, that can fill small holes and give you enough air to get to the nearest service station.
You need tools to change a tire, but also for basic vehicle maintenance. You can buy a pre-assembled toolkit or put one together yourself. This should include antifreeze, wrenches, screwdrivers, extra oil and brake fluid, a pocket knife, ice scraper, and collapsible shovel. In addition to your trunk kit, keep a small supply of tools in the glove box, including a small screwdriver set, flares, and window breaking tool. Don’t forget a roll of paper towels and disposable gloves.
Anytime you get behind the wheel, you have to be prepared for emergencies. This should include everything from having a phone nearby to call for help to keeping a stash of water bottles in the truck. You can never be too prepared, especially as winter approaches. -Keith Jacobs