Nobody ever expects to be stranded on the side of the road. This is especially true with reliable and long-lasting modern cars, but unfortunately, the unexpected still happens from time to time. There are any number of possible causes of breakdowns, from blown out tires to bad batteries to deeper mechanical issues. Whatever the case, it is important to be prepared for the possibility that your car may be stuck for some time. Luckily, there are several steps you can take to help make sure that a breakdown is only a minor inconvenience and not a major catastrophe.
Always Have the Three Basics
There are certain general supplies that you will want to always keep in your car. Many useful kits and totes are available that you can purchase and keep in your truck, allowing you to store this vital equipment with you at all times without taking up too much space in the vehicle. While there are many items that can be potentially useful, a flashlight, first aid kit, and bottled water are the three most important. These three simple items will help you to get by in the event that you are waiting for roadside assistance for a prolonged period of time.
Keep a Cold Weather Kit on Hand
If you live in an area with cold weather, one of the most important things you can do is to keep a cold weather kit in your car over the winter. This is important for everyone, but it is especially important if you frequently travel to areas that are remote or difficult to reach.
Even in populated areas, however, it may take tow trucks some time to reach your location, especially in bad weather. In addition to the basic listed above, your cold weather kit should include a heavy blanket, thick gloves, and a good pair of boots. You should always have a snow brush and ice scraper with you as well.
It may seem excessive to carry this extra gear with you when you are likely already dressed for cold weather over the winter, but many motorists have been unfortunate enough to find themselves stranded on a day they happened to forget their gloves or when not wearing a warm pair of shoes. Having this equipment in your vehicle will guarantee that you can stay warm while waiting for help, no matter what the circumstances.
Going the Extra Mile
If you are planning a long road trip, or if you commonly travel into areas where help will not be able to arrive quickly, you may want to stock your vehicle with a few extra necessities. For most travelers, this extra equipment will be unnecessary, but it can all be purchased rather cheaply and does not occupy a huge amount of space in the vehicle. If you want to be truly prepared for the unexpected, consider the following items as part of your emergency kit:
- Protein bars or other light, calorie-dense foods that store well
- A couple of disposable plastic ponchos
- Jumper cables
- A compass (don't rely on your phone!)
- A hand crank or solar phone charger
- A multi-tool and/or utility knife
- Road flares or warning triangles
This may seem like a camping trip packing list, but it is worth having these items available if you expect help to be more than a few hours away. Spending a few dollars and occupying a little space in your trunk can go a long way towards making any breakdown situation far easier than it would be otherwise. For more information, contact a towing company near you.