It is a good idea to be enrolled with an emergency roadside service, such as Airport Towing, for when your vehicle breaks down. But there is no guarantee you will be within range of cell phone service to call for emergency help when this happens. For this reason, it is important to keep an emergency roadside kit in your vehicle all the times to help you get by until a roadside service arrives. But you don't need to buy a pre-packaged kit; you can put together your own with items personalized to you and your needs. Here are some tips to help you get your emergency roadside kit together.
First Aid and Medication
If you become injured or need medication while you are broken down and waiting for help, first aid supplies and medication will come in handy. Make sure you have several large three- to four-inch gauze bandages and adhesive tape for large cuts and some band-aids for smaller cuts. Keep antiseptic ointment to clean and treat any wounds, along with some burn ointment, scissors, and an elastic sprain bandage. Nausea medication and aspirin, ibuprofen, or Excedrin can also be important to pack along.
Sunscreen is important to have in your vehicle all times of the year. When you are standing outside without protection after you car has broken down, you can get a sunburn in as quickly as 15 minutes when the UV index is at its highest. You can also get a sunburn in the winter, especially when there is snow on the ground to reflect the sun's rays and overexpose your skin.
If you have a medical condition that requires you to take a specific medication several times per day, such as type 1 diabetes or a heart condition, make sure you have a supply of any essential medications with you as well.
Food and Water
Keeping food and water stored in your vehicle can keep you fueled and hydrated while waiting for help. An average adult should drink one-half gallon of water per day, but if you are left outside and the temperature gets high, your body will need more than one-half gallon. It can be helpful to carry an extra gallon or two of drinking water in your vehicle, especially during the warmer months.
It is a good idea to store some energy bars in your vehicle for a break-down when you are not traveling with snacks. You can choose from various brands of energy bars, such as Clif Bar, Larabar, Powerbar, or you can buy some high energy survival bars with a much higher caloric amount at a local camping supply store.
Cold Weather Supplies
Be ready and have certain winter-helpful items in your vehicle, especially when you are driving during the winter. This can include a blanket, ice scraper, and work gloves for protecting your hands while working on your vehicle or if your hands need protection from the cold. If you don't want to take up a lot of space with a fluffy blanket, you can store a space blanket in your vehicle, which is a metal coated plastic sheet to keep you warm.
Store a bag of kitty litter in your vehicle to sprinkle under your vehicle's tires if you get stuck in the snow or ice. The kitty litter will help give your tires traction so you can get your vehicle moving again. A shovel is also handy to dig snow from around your tires when you are stuck. Then matches or a lighter will help you build a fire to keep warm if you are in the middle of nowhere and end up spending the night in the cold.
Vehicle Maintenance and Tools
Make sure you are also prepared to make some repairs or maintenance to your vehicle, when necessary. For this, you will need a small tool kit, which you can find at most retail stores. Make sure it at least contains an adjustable wrench, screw drivers, pliers, and vise grips. Also add a pocket knife, a roll of duct tape, tire pressure gauge, and a can of tire inflator and sealant. The tire inflator and sealant can get your vehicle back on the road without your knowing how to change a flat tire.
Also, make sure you have a rechargeable flashlight or a flashlight with extra batteries, motor oil, coolant, brake fluid, and jumper cables. It can be helpful to have a car charger with a lithium ion battery that is always charged in the event you cannot get a jump off another vehicle. Then, be sure you have several reflector triangles to place in the road while your vehicle is on the side of the road. For yourself, a reflective or fluorescent safety vest will help you remain visible and safe until help arrives.
Be prepared for a break down by keeping these items in your vehicle at all times.