It wasn’t Raining when Noah Built the Ark: Out here in Pennsylvania we’ve been blessed with some great weather lately; so nice that it made me forget how awful last winter was. (Can you say, “polar vortex”?) However, check out this recent headline:
The Old Farmer’s Almanac predicts that this winter will be another arctic blast with above-normal snowfall throughout much of the nation. The extreme weather will continue into the Summer.”
try imagining a few scenarios that you might face unexpectedly in your car, like being stranded roadside, or stuck in gridlock traffic in various weather. If it happened tomorrow, would you be prepared?
While Noah had a pretty big task set before him, the good news is that yours will be simple. (And no animals needed!) While this list may be altered due to the season, your geographic location, or whether you travel with kids or others, here is a basic list of what you should have for an emergency kit for your car:
- Flashlight with fresh batteries
- Jumper cables and/or a charged jump starter
- Extra fuses (often fix electrical problems)
- wool blanket
- first aid kit
- Road flares
- rain poncho / umbrella
- auto fire extinguisher
- Ice scraper (seasonal)
- Bottled water
- Non-perishable snacks (like granola or energy bars)
- Paper and pen (to make a sign, or write down information)
Many of the items above will fit into a backpack or plastic storage bin, and not take up too much room in your car. You can certainly add to this list, and the emergency lists can get pretty long and intimidating. You can grab most of these items at your local Advance Auto Parts (click for coupons) Walmart, or AutoZone. Personally, I think some of the recommendations from Consumer Reports and Edmunds can get a little intense; like quarts of motor oil, antifreeze, tire chains, etc.
*Tip: Know how to jump start a car!
A better alternative might be to join AAA for 24 hour roadside assistance for auto / mechanical problems. Unless you have an inner-MacGyver, you might just want to get towed to the nearest service station.
Shoes: If you do a lot of driving in heels or fancy dress shoes, also consider having some backup shoes or rain boots in case you need to do any walking in bad weather. (*see mightyshoes.com for great footwear coupons)
Kitty litter: I thought you said, “no animals?!” True, but you can pour kitty litter under your tires if you are stuck in icy weather for traction. It’s a nice winter addition to the list, and more practical than tire chains.
Also, please consider these tips:
- Don’t drive your car on “empty” – Keep at least a quarter tank of gas in your car
- Check your car battery – Have your battery checked free at Advance Auto Parts to see if you need a new one
- Keep up with oil changes (at least every 5000 miles or so)
- Check your tires – Have them rotated when you get your oil changed, and check your tire pressure
- Consider joining AAA, or have a premium roadside assistance program in place. It costs a lot to call them and join when you are stranded!
- Keep your cell phone charged, and have a car charger
- Know how to jump start your car
- Keep an emergency $20 bill in your glove compartment – Lots of reasons that might make sense. And if the power is out, you might need it!
While driving in remote, rural areas or extreme conditions may present more potential for emergencies, the list above will greatly prepare most suburban drivers and commuters for the most common suburban emergencies. The good thing is that you can always find coupons for at least 20% off your order at Advance Auto Parts, and you can even pick them up for free in 30 minutes from your nearest store.
Think you have nothing to worry about? Remember the Chinese proverb, “when men speak of the future, the gods laugh.” Hey, if Noah can build an ark bigger than a football field at age 600 to prep, you can do this! Not only did I make a car emergency kit, I got a backup generator installed in my house as well! (I’ve already been through a 3-day power outage with three kids once)
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