While people will readily build a disaster kit for their homes, few will equip their vehicles in the same way. This is especially true of urban city dwellers, believing help is never more than a few blocks away. But what about people who live in, visit, or travel through rural, sparsely populated areas? Or individuals who are indeed living in cities, but in locales where weather extremes can quickly escalate into an emergency situation that leaves them stranded in their vehicle?
No matter where you live, all it takes is a blown tire, blown gasket, or other mechanical failure to bring your excursion to a screeching halt. So for city and country dwellers alike, not prepping in the event of a vehicular emergency is not only short-sighted and risky, but potentially a fatal mistake.
How to Build a Vehicle Emergency Kit
Stuck in a blizzard, marooned on a dark road, or dealing with a flat on a scorching day far from help, you’ll wish you had an emergency kit in your vehicle. So don’t make the mistake of not having one on hand at all times. With that in mind, here are some of the essentials your car/truck/camper emergency kit should definitely contain:
- Gloves – Gloves can protect your hands from burns while working under the hood of a car with a hot engine, or from the cold while trying to put on a spare in the wind and snow. They’ll also protect your hands from cuts and scrapes.
- Flares– Flares are used to signal for help and alert others to your vehicle’s position on a dark road. Flares are also good for starting fires when heat, light, and warmth is necessary.
- Jumper Cables – Just because a stranger in a working vehicle has happened upon your location doesn’t mean they’re carrying jumper cables. So be sure to stock a good quality pair in your kit.
- Flash Light – Especially for night emergencies, having a flashlight in your car is absolutely essential. Incandescent bulbs burn brighter than their LED counterparts, but don’t last as long. Pick the one you think would best fit the most likely emergency situation you’d find yourself in.
- Multi-tool – These generally have things like screwdrivers, scissors, knives, and can openers built-in. Extremely useful for all sorts of tasks.
- Duct tape – Can be used to cover up, bind, or repair many types of materials. Really, a ton of uses for duct tape.
- Emergency Food Rations – You don’t know how long you’ll be stranded, so having some rations on hand is a good idea. The best choices are foodstuffs you don’t have to cook, like MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat), canned goods, or packaged fare such as trail mix or jerky.
- Water– For drinking, boiling, or temporarily filling an overheated radiator that’s out of anti-freeze. Be sure to have at least a few bottled gallons in jugs or bottles on hand.
- Blankets – Blankets not only provide warmth, but can be used to cover a victim who has lost blood and is in shock. A blanket can also form part of a makeshift tent.
- First Aid Kit – Bandages, medical tape, peroxide/rubbing alcohol, and common medications should be included in your first aid kit.
- Maps – Your cell phone may be damaged or low on power, leaving you unable to access its GPS feature.
- Fire Starter – Matches and lighters are okay, but it’s best to have a specialized emergency fire starter tool. Fire-starting tools are simply more dependable and last longer.
- Weather Parka – You may have to leave the vehicle and brave the elements, which is why you should have a waterproof parka on hand. Also can be used as part of a makeshift tent.
- Extra Batteries – For any electronic devices you carry, such as cell phones, GPS devices, flashlights, and radios.
There are literally dozens more items you could carry, but these cover the essentials pretty well. And no matter how well-stocked your kit is, routine care and maintenance on your entire vehicle from regular oil and fluid changes, tune-ups, and tire checks should always be first and foremost.