Your car comes with safety features like airbags, seat belts, reinforced bodies, and even new technologies like the Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert systems that you can find on some vehicles like the Toyota Tacoma. Even with all the available and built-in safety mechanisms you can find today, it’s the safety essentials that you have to pack yourself that can really help you out in the event of an emergency.
Here are 5 safety essentials that you should always pack in your car, no matter what car you’re driving. They can definitely save your road trip and maybe even your life.
Spare Tire and Road Flares
Tires are generally pretty durable, but it’s easier than you might think to get a flat. Even a brand new tire can be destroyed if you drive over something as simple and common as a nail. Without 4 tires, your vehicle won’t make it very far at all. Check to see if your car comes with a spare, a tire iron and a jack so if you get a flat you can get back on the road fast. If you don’t have one already, get one as soon as possible. Pick up a set of road flares as well so you’ll be safe and seen by other drivers in the event that you need to change a tire on the side of a road, especially at night.
First Aid Kit
Here’s where you should include basics to fix yourself up, and your car up. Take things like gauze, bandages, cotton balls, tweezers, suture supplies if you know or want to learn how to give basic sutures in an emergency, hand sanitizer, and some pain pills like aspirin. Sometimes a simple cut or blister can lead to much bigger problems on the road and when you don’t have access to simple first aid supplies.
Emergency Car Kit
Include a flashlight. Either go for a classic one and include some extra batteries, or if you’re in a sunny area, consider a cheap but good solar flashlight that will save you money on batteries and never leave you stuck with dead ones. Duct tape can come in handy for making small repairs to wires or even metal, and some extra coolant can keep you going if you’re traveling in a hot location or in hot weather and start to overheat.
Throw in some spare gasoline. Remember that gasoline does go bad if not used so either add a fuel stabilizer to make it last longer, or use it and rotate it out every month or so to make sure you always have a fresh supply. Extra windshield wiper fluid is another cheap but priceless emergency extra you should pack. Also add some blankets, bottled water, and snacks that will last awhile like protein bars to your emergency car kit.
Jumper Cables or Standalone Jump Starter Box
Even if you have a brand new battery, a simple mistake like leaving your lights on overnight can leave you completely stranded. Pick up a pair of jumper cables for a few dollars and keep them in your truck so you can get a jump. Or, if you travel often in remote areas where you may not encounter another car regularly enough for jumper cables to be reliable, pick up a jump starter box to keep in your car. These boxes are very affordable and oftentimes come with additional useful features like LED lights, USB chargers, and even air compressors so you can fill your tires on the go.
Perhaps one of the most overlooked but important safety essentials you can keep in your car is a small fire extinguisher. Cars are volatile and a car fire can quickly lead to an explosion. Fuel and oil make these fires not only incredibly difficult to put out, but make them very dangerous. Pick up a small fire extinguisher to keep in your car and you’ll be prepared to save your vehicle and your life in the event of a fire.