Be honest — when you sit behind the wheel of your car, you’re not thinking about emergencies and worst-case scenarios, are you? Instead, you’re probably thinking about your rush hour commute, all the errands you need to run, and finding the easiest route to that new restaurant.
But if you’re not riding around with an emergency kit in your car, you’re putting yourself at unnecessary risk!
Whether you’re the victim of a breakdown or Mother Nature, all kinds of emergencies can pop up on the road. As long as you’ve got a kit with these 10 essentials in it, you’ll be able to take good care of yourself until help arrives:
1. A first aid kit
Even a small cut can get infected in a matter of seconds if it’s left exposed to the open air. If you don’t want a minor injury to turn into a major problem, have plenty of band-aids, gauze pads, adhesive tape, antibiotic ointment, and antiseptic wipes on hand. (As a bonus, those wipes can be used to wipe germs off your skin OR off something filthy under your hood or on the side of the road that you need to touch!)
2. Reflective warning triangles
Yes, your flashers are a good way to let other drivers know your car is stopped on the side of the road, but reflective warning triangles take the alertness a step further. By setting them up 50 or even 100 feet away from your car, approaching drivers will have plenty of time — and several opportunities — to see that something’s not quite right up ahead.
3. Jumper cables
If your car won’t start and you don’t have any jumper cables, even the nicest of good samaritans won’t be able to help you. And, the longer your jumper cables are, the better. That way, you won’t have any trouble connecting one car to the other — no matter what configuration you’re stuck in!
4. Kitty litter
Spread some on the ground beneath your tires, and you’ll have all the traction you need. Kitty litter gives you all of the traction that sand would, but the average bag of kitty litter weighs much less than the average bag of sand does.
5. A Swiss army knife
This multipurpose tool only takes up a tiny bit of space, but it can help you out of countless jams!
6. Tow rope
The good stuff is weather-resistant, capable of towing over 6,000 pounds, and comes with metal connection hooks that won’t corrode under any circumstances. That way, you can get your car to safety even if there isn’t a tow truck around!
7. Water and non-perishable snacks
The only thing worse than being stranded for hours on end? Being stranded when you’re dying of thirst and hunger! Eventually, those pangs will go from being uncomfortable to downright dangerous. Things like bottled water, protein bars, trail mix, nuts, dry cereal, peanut butter, and dried fruit can literally be lifesavers!
8. A thick blanket
If your car isn’t running, odds are your heater isn’t running either. On a cold day, it won’t take long for the inside of your car to become frigid and even deadly. Remember, something as simple as taking off a glove to pop open your hood subjects enough of your skin to the elements to dramatically drop your body temperature!
9. Duct tape
Everyone jokes about what it’s capable of, but the truth is, duct tape can tackle a wide variety of problems. One roll doesn’t take up much room, especially when you’re talking about something that comes with endless possibilities!
10. Pepper spray
You never know who (or what!) you’re going to come into contact with when you’re stranded somewhere. Just be sure to keep an eye on the expiration date, because unlike those snacks you’ve picked out, this stuff will go bad eventually. Better to be safe than sorry, right?!
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