Make your own roadside emergency kit
If you drive long distances, through rural areas or in extreme conditions, an emergency kit for your car could save your life.
If your car breaks down or you get stranded on a highway, keeping a roadside emergency kit in your trunk could save your life, as well as the lives of your passengers.
With this checklist as a guide, you can customize the contents of your own roadside emergency kit based on your surroundings, the climate and your driving habits. For instance, do you ever:
- Drive long distances?
- Drive in urban or rural areas?
- Drive late at night?
- Face severe weather in your area?
In winter especially, you need to be prepared in case you have to spend the night — or longer — in your car. If your clothing gets wet because you've tried to dig yourself out of a snow drift, for example, you'll have to get dry, as well as stay warm.
Emergency kit checklist. Here's what to include in your kit:
- Small plastic bottles of water (replace every six months)
- Non-perishable, high-energy food, such as energy bars, nuts or peanut butter or dried fruit
- A blanket (a survival blanket is best)
- Matches and a candle in a deep can for light, warmth and to melt snow
- A flashlight with extra batteries or a wind-up flashlight
- A whistle to attract attention
- First-aid kit (should include a seatbelt cutter)
- Small shovel
- Ice scraper with brush
- Axe or hatchet
- Road map and compass
- Sand, salt or non-clumping cat litter for traction
- Extra antifreeze/windshield washer fluid
- Tow rope
- Jumper cables
- Fire extinguisher
- Warning light or road flares
- Utility knife
- Emergency sign for the dashboard
- Tire inflator
- Hand sanitizer, paper towels or cleaning cloths
- Spare tire
- Emergency phone numbers
- Extra clothing and footwear
Be prepared. Pack smaller items in a box or carton so you can find them quickly when you need to. As well, you should always travel with a well-charged cellphone and a charger that plugs into your car's cigarette lighter. It may seem like a lot to carry around, but if you find yourself in an emergency situation, you'll be glad to have packed it all.
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