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As you can imagine, suffering a breakdown, being stranded in bad weather or being involved in an accident can result in injuries or can cause you to be trapped inside your vehicle, perhaps for days. Having road side assistance is all well and good – but sometimes help might not be as close as you think. Poor cell reception, remote areas or disruption to road services might require you to shelter in your vehicle. One way to help assure that you will live to tell your grandchildren about the experience is to have a car survival kit in your auto or truck.
These kits contain first aid supplies, but also emergency water and food, as well as space blankets and other items that can help you stay alive and healthy. You may already have an emergency kit for your automobile that has handy items for quick vehicle repairs, but you need one for the humans inside the car, too.
One of the most important things to remember is that your car survival kit will do you no good if you are unable to get out of the car and the kit has been safely stowed in the trunk. While this will not be a problem if you drive a van, SUV, station wagon, or pickup, you will have to decide exactly where to keep your kit so that it's accessible if you drive a sedan. It is especially helpful if the kit is within easy reach of anyone in the passenger compartment.
Although most accidents and other roadside mishaps are addressed quickly, there can be times when you and any passengers will simply be stuck for hours or days. Blizzards and flooding can cause people to become stranded, and having your car survival kit within arm's reach can keep you and others hydrated, fed, and warm. Monumental traffic jams, often the result of evacuations, can also stretch out a journey to an intolerable length, especially if you get thirsty or hungry.
Another reason to keep your car survival kit in the passenger compartment is that the trunk will become even hotter than the main part of the car. Although emergency food bars are designed to withstand both very high and very low temperatures, 'ordinary' food such as granola bars or trail mix will deteriorate rapidly in the high heat of the trunk, and supplies such as these should be examined and replaced at least once a year.
When you are trying to decide where to keep your car survival kit, especially if you drive a sedan, your decision should also be based on what kind of road hazards and weather conditions you will be likely to face. One thing always to remember is that you should never embark on a journey without a survival kit in your vehicle.
Alongside a survival kit, you should also always carry the necessary equipment for changing a tire―a working jack, an inflated spare tire, a lug nut wrench or tire iron, and pipe for leverage. These items should always be stored in their designated place in your car's trunk or hatchback.
Outside of the normal survival kit items like food, water and first aid kits - recommended items for a car emergency kit are:
- High Visibility Items - reflective triangles, strips or a vest are important to warn other vehicles of your location and can be helpful for rescue
- Tow Rope - Better to be prepared than have to forego help if a passing vehicle doesn’t have a tow rope either.
- Jumper Cables – If you own a car, these are a must have.
- Folding shovel – light weight and sturdy this tool is perfect for digging yourself out of sand, snow or mud.
- Flares or light sticks – This will make it very obvious that you are in trouble and make your location visible to rescuers.
The National Weather Service reports that up to 70 percent of weather related fatalities will occur in an automobile. When the weather suddenly turns bad you may become trapped overnight and you need to be well prepared to avoid becoming one of those statistics. In addition to preparing your emergency kit and knowing how to use every item in it, here are some simple guidelines to protect yourself and your family when you are on the road.
- Make a call so someone can send help.
- Move your car completely off the road before taking any emergency measures.
- Don’t stand close to the edge of the road while you are checking your vehicle.
- At night, turn on your flashers to signal that you need help and increase your visibility.
- In daylight, raise the hood and tie a white cloth to signal for help.
- If you have to repair your car at night, wear a fluorescent safety vest.
- While waiting for help to arrive, try to stay inside your car.
- Before taking a long road trip, let others know your whereabouts and check in with them periodically.
- If you become stuck in a snow storm, stay in your vehicle. It is an adequate shelter and with the help of survival items, it is safer to stay rather than risk becoming lost in the snow.
- Run the car for short bursts to keep it warm. Take care to ensure the exhaust pipe is clear of snow to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Remember to keep your vehicle gassed up and well serviced. It may mean the difference between being stuck in your car and getting home to your family.
Having a car emergency kit can not only help you, but assist others who may be facing an emergency.
Survival Goods supplies a range of Car Emergency Kits. The
All in One Auto Kit is highly recommended and covers the basics and includes:
- 8-foot jumper cables
- 13-foot tow rope
- 37-piece first aid kit
- 5-in-1 survival whistle
- Pouch of crunchy granola
- Freeze-dried bananas
- Hand-cranked rechargeable flashlight
- Multipocket auto bag
- Mylar blanket
- Raspberry-flavored energy bar
- Roll of duct tape