We’ve all been there, you’re driving along, minding your own business when bam, disaster strikes. Whether it’s a flat tire, stalled engine, fender bender or head-on accident, car troubles are never easy. And while you may do everything in your power to be a cautious driver, mishaps happen when we least expect them.
But what you have tucked away in the crevices and corners of your car can be the difference between a minor blip on the radar screen and a full-out life-threatening occurrence. Here’s a list of a few things everyone should have stored in their car for when troubles arise. Some of these things could just save your life.
Tire tools. Flat tires are the bane of a driver’s existence. Be prepared with a usable spare tire with both a car jack and tire iron (the spare won’t be of much use without them). You may also want to keep a portable air compressor and tire sealer handy. No, you can’t expect to go hundreds of miles on a sealed tire, but you can at least get yourself to the nearest service station if you’re no pro at changing a flat.
Car manual. This may seem like a no-brainer but be sure the manual is stored away in the glove compartment. When those dashboard lights begin to flicker it’s important to know which ones you can ignore for a moment and which ones require immediate attention.
First aid kit. Shattered glass from an accident can do some serious damage. Avoid infection by having a stocked first aid kit handy (as in not in the trunk). Bandages, antiseptics, sanitizing wipes or gels, gauze, etc. should all be within reach to treat cuts and scrapes until you can get to the nearest sink.
Flares and reflective triangles or tape. If you’re driving on a curvy country road at night, these are a valuable commodity. Alert fellow drivers that a car is parked up ahead and if you’re planning on walking roadside, donning a reflective vest will help make you visible to fellow-drivers.
Seatbelt cutter and window breaker. These tools can literally save your life. In instances where an accident results in a car flipping or becoming submerged in water, you’ll need to get out fast. You may be unable to reach the seat belt buckle or find that the power-windows aren’t operating, so keep these tools in close proximity for easy access.
Blankets and extra clothing. These may not be as necessary for daytime driving in populated areas, however, winter travel on lonely roads poses numerous threats. If you find yourself stranded in subzero temperatures, a few extra blankets or a change or two of clothes will help keep the chills or even worse, hypothermia, at bay until help arrives.
Stored snacks. These aren’t to be used when your stomach starts to growl, but for emergency situations where you’ll be either stranded for long hours or hoofing it for miles to the nearest service station. Non-perishable snacks like energy bars, beef jerky and bottled water can keep you nourished until help arrives.
Self-protection. This is especially important for female drivers. Pepper spray or a small knife won’t inflict enough damage to mortally wound another person or stray animal, but they can buy you some time to make a getaway.
Keep the above items in your car, and assuming you are not in a ‘communications dead zone’, having a cell phone handy is always great for emergencies.
-The Alternative Daily