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You have your insurance protection in line. You are a member of AAA or another roadside service organization. You have it all covered.. But what about a breakdown somewhere where you can’t call upon your awesome planning? No cell service, roadside assistance unable to get to you for a few hours. Can you be a rugged individualist?
A vehicle emergency kit is a good idea. You can use a cardboard box or large plastic container (such as a milk carton) for storage, so that it doesn’t roll around in the trunk and you can quickly find what you need in an emergency.
Here’s some suggestions for what to keep:
– First-aid Kit: Include an assortment of Band-Aids, adhesive tape, gauze pads, OTC pain reliever, antiseptic wipes, antiseptic cream or ointment, and any medicine necessary for you or your family.
– Fire Extinguisher: It should be rated for Class B and Class C fires by the National Fire Protection Association, or NFPA. The NFPA says Class B fires are those that involve flammable or combustible liquids, such as gasoline, diesel fuel and kerosene. Class C fires involve energized electrical equipment such as switches, panel boxes and batteries.
– Reflective Warning Triangles: Let people know where you are. Especially on dark roads off the beaten path, the farther out you can be seen, the less likely it is that you will have an even bigger problem.
– Foam Tire Sealant. This is a quick, inexpensive way to repair many flats without changing the tire. Depending on the size of the hole in your tire, it should get you down the road far enough to get help.
– Water and Nonperishable Snacks: Depending on how long your wait will be, you will probably get hungry or thirsty. Plus, having something to wash down the Advil you will probably need is a good thing.
– Jumper Cables: Every car has a battery, but not every one has jumper cables. They should be at least 10 feet in length and coated with at least 8-gauge rubber.
– Flashlight and Extra Batteries: You can’t fix what you can’t see. The flashlight should be waterproof and periodically tested.
The whole point is to be prepared. Much like your auto insurance, you want to have it hoping you never need it. But isn’t it nice if you do and it’s there for you.