Cars offer the extra feeling of safety because they have a shell that can protect you. However this shell cannot help you when you are stranded in the middle of nowhere unless you packed a survival kit in it. A few small things that you keep in your vehicle can sustain you for a long time if you ever break down and cannot get help soon.
You may think that when would I ever need it since there aren’t many rarely traveled parts of the country anymore? But remember that you can go as far as you want once you have good transportation. And if you are adventurous you will find those spots easily! Camping out in the mountains or getting stranded in the snow are some of the examples. In any case, being prepared doesn’t hurt anybody. Besides you don’t need an emergency to need any of the items in your kit. Here are a few tips on what to include in your survival kit and how they can help you in your everyday driving.
Nobody can argue about how essential water is for your survival. Also, you may need to top up the water in your auto. Have sufficient water with you all at all times. You should have them in plastic bottles so that they don’t burst in freezing temperatures. [Editor’s note: plastic bottles can burst too.]
I remember my car overheating and running out of water in the cooling system a couple of years ago. I was lucky that I was broken down on a busy road. Seeing the steam coming out of my automobile, an old couple stopped, gave me water in a two liter coke bottle and drove off without saying a word. I thought what kind and smart people! I waited a little for my vehicle to cool down, poured the content of the bottle in to the radiator and it was enough to get me home.
People can last several days without food but you function better if you eat. Pack some non-perishable food that can be good source of energy like energy bars. This is extra important if you often travel with your family.
Last year we decided to take a road trip to the highlands. We thought that we would find several restaurants and cafes with beautiful mountain views and delicious food on the way and didn’t pack sandwiches with us. Unfortunately, we drove miles and miles without a single place to eat or to find supplies. We saw a couple of small villages that had no shop either. We were all starving and remembered the supplies we had in our survival kit. After a bar of chocolate we were much happier. [Editor’s note: any food you intend to keep in your car kit should be able to sustain temperature extremes and rotated often; chocolate is not a good option except for road trips. 😉 ]
3. Extra Clothing
Extra layers of clothing, boots and blankets can be immensely valuable especially if the weather is cold and you have to spend the night. Socks, gloves and hats are great to keep you warm as well.
Many times I walked out of home without wearing appropriate clothing and was so glad that I always keep a fleece jacket in my car. They are extremely handy for people like me even in the cities.
4. Emergency Kit
Emergency kit with sufficient medical supplies can be bought from most car accessory stores. Remember to add one or two medicines that every household has like painkillers. Simple bandages can be extremely valuable at times.
My daughter has always had fascination with plasters and she would have hours of fun with them that we keep a big pack of them in our car. Even now she loves them and uses them to avoid foot sores. And I often get sudden headaches that I always keep painkillers in my car. These basic supplies can be very handy in your everyday driving.
Simple tools like a small shovel, army knife, torch / flashlight, candle and matches can be handy in many situations. For example, the shovel can be used to clean the snow or mud under your tire. If you are stuck in mud don’t force your way out. Instead use your shovel to put solid support under your tires.
Tools are always handy. I don’t know how many times I used my army knife when we are out on the road. Screw drivers and torch (flashlight) are other regularly used tools in our car.
6. Car Tools
Jumper cable, tow rope, warning lights or flares and fire extinguisher are some of the tools come to mind. It is not a bad idea to keep other tools like a screw driver, adjustable spanner (wrenches) and few simple tools in your vehicle. Also, you should have a seat belt cutter where you can reach from your seat.
I always wanted to be that guy who would produce jumper cables whenever someone needs to jump-start a car with a dead battery. But they are one thing I failed to produce whenever I need them and was so glad a stranger had them in their car and was kind enough to help me out.
7. Communication and Direction Tools
Don’t assume that your cell phone will always work. You should keep things like a whistle, map and compass to help you out. We have already mentioned flares.
Maps are great when you need to plan a long journey for the day. GPS is great for finding your way in short distances but it is not easy to see which towns you will pass and if there are scenic routes along your route. I love to take a scenic route whenever I can and I always keep a map that shows them. [Editor’s note: taking detours is always fun but if you’ve told others where you’re going and which route you’ll take then you should update them with your change of plans if at all possible.]
You should also think about extra batteries for your flashlight or a cell phone adapter that can be used in the automobile. If you are like me you will need them. I seem to run out of cell phone batteries on a daily bases because I constantly forget to charge them. [Editor’s note: charge your cell phones everyday regardless of state of charge because you never know when/if you’ll need it.]
Here are a few more tips on what to do:
- If you are planning on going camping or taking a road trip you should tell about it to someone close to you. Tell them where you are going, how long you are planning to stay and how they can contact you. [Editor’s note: AND if you’re changing plans!]
- Always make sure that your gas tank is at least half full when you are planning on taking a trip in wilderness or driving in less traveled regions in the snow season. On the above mentioned mountain trip we couldn’t even find food for ourselves let alone petrol (gasoline). I was lucky that my car didn’t break down and I had plenty of petrol (gasoline). [Editor’s note: I suggest you always keep your gas tank half full no matter what.]
- Don’t leave the engine on for heat and sleep, particularly when there is snow outside. Wind can quickly cover your exhaust with snow and cause a carbon monoxide poisoning. [Editor’s note: yes, be diligent to check your exhaust pipe.]
This article is written by Joe more of http://cheapautoinsurance.net. You can read his articles full of driving and auto insurance tips on his blog.