The Car Survival Kit

Automotive, Home & Family
on April 22, 2001

In planning a road-trip vacation, long before suitcases are packed, make space for a car survival kit. This not only enables you to handle inconveniences that may detour family fun, but can also make your trip safer.

The ideal kit should include:

  • Roadside flares or reflectors. These safety devices warn traffic of a disabled vehicle, particularly if you cant get it completely and safely off the roadway.
  • Flashlight. Put fresh batteries in before the trip and throw in extras just in case.
  • Gloves. Save your hands from the dirty work.
  • First aid kit. Buy a ready-made one or, if you create your own, include assorted adhesive bandages; non-stick gauze pads and first aid tape, scissors, first aid cream or antibacterial ointment.
  • A basic tool kit consisting of screwdrivers (both Phillips and flat blade), a crescent wrench, pliers, an open-end wrench set, and a basic three-eighths inch drive socket set. Pack a few shop rags and hand cleaner to make cleanup easier.
  • Jumper cables. These are a necessity in any vehicle.
  • A spare ignition key. Carry the extra in your billfold or purse, or hide one in a magnetic key safe that can attach to the back side of your bumper to save time, money, and aggravation if someone accidentally locks the keys in the car.
  • Fix-A-Flat or other product that instantly repairs a flat tire. Its not a permanent solution, but it can buy you time to get to a mechanic for tire repair and eliminates the danger of having to change a tire next to a busy roadway.
  • A cellular telephone, which is a wonderful safety device, even if youre not interested in using it any other time. Check for cellular telephone providers that have inexpensive limited use plans for emergency calls only.
  • The telephone numbers of your automobile club or insurance companys tow service.
  • Bottled water, a bag of pretzels or granola bars, and a blanket, just in case you have to wait a little while for help to arrive.
  • A list of important telephone numbers in case you need to let someone know youre running behind, or an emergency occurs. The list should include names and addresses of your motels, friends and family you plan to visit along the way, and loved ones back home.