You’ve probably heard of car emergency kits, but have questions about them. The most common is what to have in an emergency car kit? While there are no absolutes, some items will prove to be more useful or valuable in common roadside emergencies.
What to Have in a Car Emergency Kit
The following list includes the basic items for a kit. You can add to it as you see fit, such as tire chains for snowy conditions, but be sure to have at least these things.
- Flashlight: This is essential if you’re stranded in the dark, and so should absolutely be part of your car emergency kit contents. Sure, you could use your phone, but you’re also draining the battery, putting your ability to call for help in jeopardy. These days, there are plenty of compact, powerful and affordable flashlights on the market.
- First aid kit: While unfortunate, someone could be injured in the event of an accident or trip and fall. Even if you cut yourself while trying to fix something, having some bandages, rubbing alcohol, and gauze will help prevent infection.
- Blanket: Surprisingly versatile, you can use a blanket to stay warm, create a shelter, treat someone for shock, or even cushion your knees while you make a repair. When choosing the size and thickness of a blanket, remember it’s always best to overestimate what you’ll need.
- Water: There are many uses for water, making it especially valuable to have on hand. You can drink it or in a pinch to rinse out a wound. Water can also help with an overheating car. You can also rinse off corrosion from car parts easily. You can even use it to wash off your hands after making unexpected car repairs.
- Basic tools: You don’t have to bring every tool you own, but a small, basic tool kit is handy if you need to tighten a hose clamp, secure a bolt, etc. Make sure it has at least Phillips and flat head screwdrivers, as well as a Torx screwdriver since many car parts are compatible with those these days. Some needle nose pliers, a crescent wrench, gloves and similar items are helpful, too.
- Duct tape: No, this isn’t to patch your pants in a pinch, but you can use it to patch up hoses or other broken or torn items on your car. Duct tape is tough and can withstand high temperatures, so having it on hand is always a good thing.
- Flares/safety triangle/vest: You need to stay visible when on the side of the road. Flares are great for when it’s dark, while a foldable and reflective triangle as well as a reflective safety vest help other drivers see and avoid you.
Knowing what to have in an an emergency car kit can keep you safe when the unexpected happens. Even better, most of these items are small and won’t take up a lot of room in your trunk.
Staying Safe on the Side of the Road
Visibility brings up another issue. If you’re stranded on the side of the road, especially at night, it can be hard for motorists to see you.
There are some things you can do to reduce the chance of a serious incident.
First of all, if you’re on the highway, exit it if at all possible. The sheer speed of travel makes being on the shoulder incredibly dangerous. If you can’t get to an exit ramp, pull over as far as you can. Always turn on your hazard lights so people realize you’re not moving. If you’re on the side of the road, the safest place to be is in your car, where a reinforced cage and airbags can protect you.
When you’re stuck on the side of the highway and the weather is bad, you’ll need to stay warm while you wait for help. Keep your doors closed and only run the heater, if your car will turn on, about ten minutes every hour as a way to conserve fuel.
In the event your car has slid off the road and is damaged, you might want to find a secure spot to wait for help. It’s possible the fuel lines on your vehicle are ruptured, posing a serious fire risk. Take to higher ground, preferably behind a barrier or a tree, to guard yourself from other vehicles.
Who to Call in Atlanta for Roadside Assistance
The first thing you want to do after ensuring you’re in secure spot is call on your phone for help. Atlanta has a service called HERO, which is run by the Georgia DOT Transportation Management Center. Just dial 511 on your phone for assistance. Know that the HERO service doesn’t include a tow truck, so you’ll have to call for one separately.
When a tow truck arrives, remember to tell the driver to take your vehicle to T3 Atlanta. We’ll help you figure out what’s wrong with your car, and get it working properly again.