No one expects to have an emergency on the road. While you may think it’s important to prepare for long road trips, any number of things can happen even on short trips. From minor car accidents to breakdowns being equipped with the right tools and other items can relieve the pressure from what could be a pretty stressful situation. While you aren’t likely to bring your entire toolbox along for the ride, there are some essentials you can keep in your car for use when needed. Here are just a few of the best tools to keep in your car:
- Seatbelt Cutter/Window Hammer
This mini tool can save your life in the event you are submerged underwater or are otherwise trapped in your vehicle and unable to free yourself from your seat belt. Time is of the essence when your car is filling with water, the car is in flames, or in other emergency situations and a quick exit is necessary. Keep this tool near the driver’s seat so that you can break a window or cut your seatbelt immediately.
- Socket Set & Screwdriver
With vibrations and normal wear and tear, components in vehicles may come loose. Having a socket wrench or screwdriver is handy to tighten things when needed such as a loose battery connection, hose clamp, and other mechanisms requiring minor adjustments. When car trouble happens, sometimes all that’s needed is a quick tightening. Even if you’re not a particularly handy person, lifting the hood and scanning for disconnections and tightening them along the way, will get you back on the road. For added flexibility find a set that has multiple socket sizes and an assortment of screwdriver heads, that way you’ll be prepared to adjust almost anything that needs it.
- Jumper Cables/Jump Starter
Dead batteries are pretty commonplace in Arizona and they give virtually no warning when they die, leaving you in a precarious situation. In the event that your battery is unable to hold a charge, being able to jump your car can get your car started, giving you the opportunity to get a replacement as soon as possible. Choose heavy-gauge cables with durable, spring-loaded clamps when selecting the right jumper cables. A jump starter will also help in the event that no other vehicles are around to help jump start your car. Having either of these items can help in your own emergency or when you see other stranded motorists in need of assistance.
Who needs a flashlight when your phone has one? Consider this: the flashlight on your phone can drain the battery pretty quickly and you may need a functioning phone to call for help. Select flashlights with multiple functions such as a flashing or strobe function which can alert other drivers to your whereabouts on the road. Even in broad daylight it may be difficult to see some areas of the engine compartment and a flashlight may give you a better view of things.
- Jack and Lug Wrench
Flat tires are the pits. What’s worse? Having a flat tire and not being able to change it out with the spare because you are unable to remove the lug nuts or jack the car up to remove the tire. Keep these items with your spare tire in case a flat gets you down.
While the above items are just a few things we recommend never leaving home without, there are many other items you may want to consider keeping in your car, especially for long road trips. In fact, you can create your very own emergency road kit to keep in your car when needed. Store items in the trunk or cargo area in a canvas bag and secure them properly to prevent them from becoming a projectile in an emergency. Some ideas include:
- First aid kit
- Non-perishable food
- Bottled water
- Gas can
- Extra clothing
- Roadside flares or reflective triangles
- Tow strap
- Fire extinguisher
- Cell phone & charger
- Toiletries (toilet paper, paper towels, tissues, soap, etc.)
- Battery powered radio
- Moist towelettes/wipes
- Vehicle fluids (oil, coolant, transmission fluid, etc.)
With any luck you won’t have to use any of these items but if you do, you’ll be grateful you have them. Having an emergency kit and tools in your car could save your life. Now that you’re prepared for just about anything on the road, you can focus on where you need to go and how you’re going to get there. Safe travels!