We frequently hear about drivers stranded on the road for hours (even days) due to a car breakdown. Many people have membership with AAA or another roadside assistance organization, but what happens when you can reach them? If you and your passengers need to sit tight for a while, it will be a whole lot better with an auto emergency kit.
Some of what you want in the kit are common sense items, others may be things you haven’t thought about. Here are a few some suggestions:
– First-aid Kit: Include an assortment of Band-Aids, adhesive tape, gauze pads, OTC pain reliever, antiseptic wipes, antiseptic cream or ointment, and any medicine necessary for you or your family.
– Fire Extinguisher: It should be rated for Class B and Class C fires by the National Fire Protection Association, or NFPA. The NFPA says Class B fires are those that involve flammable or combustible liquids, such as gasoline, diesel fuel and kerosene. Class C fires involve energized electrical equipment such as switches, panel boxes and batteries.
– Reflective Warning Triangles: Let people know where you are. Especially on dark roads off the beaten path, the farther out you can be seen, the less likely it is that you will have an even bigger problem.
– Foam Tire Sealant. This is a quick, inexpensive way to repair many flats without changing the tire. Depending on the size of the hole in your tire, it should get you down the road far enough to get help.
– Water and Nonperishable Snacks: Depending on how long your wait will be, you will probably get hungry or thirsty. Plus, having something to wash down the Advil you will probably need is a good thing.
– Jumper Cables: Every car has a battery, but not every one has jumper cables. They should be at least 10 feet in length and coated with at least 8-gauge rubber.
– Flashlight and Extra Batteries: You can’t fix what you can’t see. The flashlight should be waterproof and periodically tested.
There are many preassembled kits available at your local auto parts store and online. Of course, you can also put one together yourself with a watertight container and store in your truck. Hopefully you won’t need it, but just like your auto insurance coverage, it is nice to have when you do.