Emergency supplies can be helpful not just for you but for other drivers who find themselves unprepared and in a bad situation. Considering stocking your car with the following supplies:
- A backup cellphone: Either make sure it is fully charged or have a portable battery charger with you that is compatible with it. The cellphone can be an old one, and it doesn’t even have to be activated. Cellphone companies are required by law to complete 911 calls. Put the backup cellphone in the glove compartment and use it to call 911 if you can’t use your regular phone for some reason.
- Jumper cables: Car batteries can die without giving any notice, and sometimes you can accidentally drain them by leaving on a dome light or using the seat heater while listening to the radio. Have jumper cables. That way, you are prepared to help and be helped when necessary.
- Flashlight: Accidents and emergencies can happen at night as easily as during the day. If it’s dark, you are going to need some light to help you do whatever needs doing, such as changing a tire or exchanging insurance information with another driver.
- Roadside flares and reflective triangles: Sitting in a car on the side of a road in the dark is dangerous. Drivers who don’t see you can ram right into you. Reduce the danger by making it easier for other drivers to see you.
- Food and water: If you are hundreds of miles away from any potential help, a little food can make a big difference. Candy is not your best option. MREs, on the other hand, can be very helpful. Also, have a water bottle with you, one that you filled up with clean, fresh water before you left home.
- Blankets: Not only can they keep you and other passengers warm, you can use them as picnic blankets.
- Ice scraper: This is essential for cleaning ice and snow off your car. You may have a garage at home, but you may need this anytime you are parked outside and it snows. Don’t neglect the rear window. It’s unsafe to drive when you can’t see what’s behind you.
- First-aid kit: You can buy one or make one, depending on your preferences, but it will help you deal with minor medical problems.
- Tow strap: This is another device that has a dual function, helping you and helping someone else. If your car won’t start, and someone else with a car is willing to tow you, this is a great option. The person being towed puts the car in neutral and steers and brakes as necessary while being rescued.
- Folding shovel and a bag of sand: Shovels are good for digging your car out of snow, putting some sand onto snow, or creating a ramp for your car to get it out of a hole.
- LifeHammer: This tool can cut your seat belt, break your window, and save your life.
- Portable air compressor: This handy device is an alternative to replacing your tire. (Have you ever replaced your tire? Do you want to replace your tire? The answer is probably “No” to both questions.) The portable air compressor allows you to put enough air back into your tire so that you can drive to a repair shop. It is designed to plug into the cigarette lighter.
- Car tool kit: If you are mechanically inclined, this can be a useful thing to have in your car.
- Extra antifreeze: You might need it.
If you get stuck during a winter storm, your plan should be as follows:
- Stay with the car. You will be easier to find, and it will give you some protection from the elements.
- Just run your car enough to stay warm. The rest of the time, turn off the engine.
- Put on your dome lights or use your emergency lights so it will be easier for people to see you.
A handy flyer to download and keep on your phone or in your car.