Better safe than sorry, right? Be prepared for possible problems when you’re on the road with an emergency kit. You’ll have peace of mind feeling safe and you could save yourself some unexpected loss of time.
These days there are options that take away the need for an extensive kit, although keeping certain items in your car is always a good idea. A charged cell phone and a signal, along with a roadside assistance program make a flat tire less of a hassle. No signal available? That kit will come in handy.
Using common sense helps save you space. If you aren’t in a snowy area, you’re not going to need an ice scraper or chains, for instance. When you settle on what to put into your kit—a cardboard box in your trunk is fine—be sure to go through the items one at a time and make sure you understand how and when to use them.
The Long List
Flares and/or reflective roadside triangles
Portable lithium-ion batter with jumper cables, or some old-fashioned jumper cables. The lithium-ion battery is great, however, because you can use it to recharge your cell phone and laptop if necessary
Can of tire inflator and a sealant
Tire pressure gauge
Flashlight and batteries
At least one quart of motor oil
A gallon of coolant
Spray bottle of window cleaner
Notepad and pen
Snacks and bottle water
The Short (Basic) List
One quart of motor oil
Flashlight with batteries
A multi-purpose tool and/or screw driver
Tire inflator and sealant
The easiest plan of action is to buy a ready-made roadside kit. Be sure to add in items from the above lists if need be. Before heading out on a trip, be sure you have a spare tire, jack and lug wrench in the trunk.
If you must pull over, use caution. Pull as far off the road as you can and put flares or reflective roadside triangles or flares. Sit in your car with the doors locked and windows up, call for help if you can, and stay in the car until help arrives.
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