Roadside emergencies happen at all times of the day and in any and all conditions. A breakdown could occur on a well-trafficked roadway during the day, or on a back road around midnight in colder weather. To prepare for all types of instances, as well as for a range of conditions, an auto emergency kit is a must.
No matter if you decide to purchase a kit or make your own, practically all options are economical. Some, as well, can be small enough to fit into a glove box. Others, once tools and supplies to withstand the cold are added, may be large enough to fit in a trunk or the back of a vehicle. Professional drivers should adhere to DOT standards when putting together a kit.
What should auto emergency kits do? On a basic level, supplies must assist with signaling for help, fixing any basic vehicular damage, and dealing with any major emergencies. Ideally a kit should contain enough supplies to address a vehicle and get you driving on the road again. But, as more serious injuries can occur, a kit assists to hold you over until roadside assistance arrives.
Even if you decide to purchase an auto emergency kit, not all options sold are identical. On a basic level, kits should include:
First Aid, with supplies to treat common injuries on the road, from cuts to insect bites to burns.
A Fire Extinguisher, as fuels to electrical difficulties all can result in a potential vehicle-related fire. An extinguisher, preferably one that is compact and easy to grab, lessens potential damage from this occurrence.
Warning Lights, Flares, or Reflective Triangles call attention to you on the side of the road. For whichever emergency lighting is used, it must be long-lasting and visible in a wide range of conditions.
Auto Tools, such as a tire gauge, jack and lug wrench, foam tire sealant, a compressor and plug kit, and jumper kit, assist with addressing common vehicle issues.
A Flashlight is a must for seeing in the dark, be it to make repairs, set up flares or triangles, or to find your equipment.
Gloves assist with protecting your hands from the cold and during auto repairs.
A Camera and pen and paper should be available in case an accident happens. Be ready to take pictures of the damage, leave a note, or exchange information with another motorist.
Blankets and Tarps are versatile and extremely helpful in colder conditions.
Water, Emergency Food, and a Radio are a must for longer trips or dealing with a breakdown in winter.