If you’re like most car owners, chances are there’s some junk in your trunk. Time to clear it out and make space for some items that just might save your life one day. You probably think that you already have them—but then again you might not. Time to pop the lid and take a look at the 7 things you do not want to be caught in your car without.
- Fully charged fire extinguisher –
Unlike the seatbelt law, there is no law that says you have to keep a fire extinguisher in your car. But should your car or the car of another motorist you come upon ever catch fire, you’ll be glad you have one on board. Note that the above title reads “fully charged fire extinguisher,” which means that once you obtain your fire extinguisher it should be checked periodically to make sure it is fully charged and functional. Although most car fires are electrical, the fire extinguisher you purchase should be rated to handle all types of fires. You should also become acquainted with the proper use of a fire extinguisher, as using it incorrectly could result in a serious injury.
Sounds obvious, but a flat tire has stranded many a motorist because they neglected to make sure they had the full tire-changing setup in the trunk. A fully inflated spare tire, check. Jack, check. Lug wrench, check. Chock or block of wood to keep the car from rolling if on an incline, check. Once the complete setup is assembled your work is not yet done. You must now make sure that you and everyone who is going to drive the car has a working knowledge of how to change a flat tire. The best way to accomplish that is to give a tire-changing tutorial wherein you physically go through every step.
- Reflective signs or road flares –
You can’t control where your car breaks down, but you can be prepared to warn other drivers of the road hazard your car has become. If you’ve ever taken a defensive driving course, you would know that road flares or reflective triangles are essential emergency items that very well could save your life and the lives of other motorists.
There’s nothing like the sinking feeling you get when you go to start your car and discover that the battery is dead. Fortunately, most motorists will be willing to give you a jumpstart. But don’t bet on them having jumper cables. It’s best to carry your own set. Make sure your cables are in good shape and that the positive and negative clamps are clearly marked and corrosion free. In addition, you’ll want to make sure you know how to use them correctly.
- Fully functional flashlights –
Flashlights are another important item to keep in your car. Other than providing light at night, a flashlight can also come in handy when looking under the hood, under a seat, or in the trunk during the daytime. Buy a flashlight especially for your car. If you live where it rains a lot, a waterproof flashlight is a good idea. And while you’re at it, keep a set of fresh batteries on hand so you’ll have a nice bright beam when you need it.
You never know when you may need to render first- aid while on the road. Your car first-aid kit should contain the basics, such as bandages, tweezers, and antibiotic ointments. Over the counter pain medications and instant cold or heat packs could also be included. For those with medical conditions requiring prescription medications, a one-day supply should be included in the event of being stranded. Make sure to check all expiration dates to make certain all items in the kit are in date.
In the event of a road emergency that leaves you stranded for any length of time or requires exertion, such as changing a tire in extreme weather, you’ll want to keep several bottles of water in the trunk to make sure all passengers stay adequately hydrated. On that note, for those who live in areas where being stranded in inclement weather could be a real possibility—particularly during the winter—it’s best to be prepared by storing extra blankets and warm clothing.
From Global Change: A few other things I would have is a tool kit like the one in the picture. I have used that goodyear one in the picture for about 7 years with no problems. I would also recommend having a hammer, crescent wrench and vise grips. I would have some beef jerky or some type of food like datrex emergency bars in your vehicle.