Nothing grinds a driver's gears more than getting stranded in the middle of nowhere with few resources. Unfortunately, these things happen more frequently than you'd like to think, but there are ways to lessen the blow of a flat tire or an empty gas tank.
Something as simple as making your own emergency roadside kit can assist you during this inopportune moment. Less stress yields more level thinking.
Here's what you should gather to put in your own do-it-yourself emergency kit:
- A charged pay-as-you-go cell phone - you never know when your phone will die
- Bandages, gauze, ointment and other essentials that come in a first-aid kit
- Flares can be useful to illuminate a dim road and help you get the attention of another driver or police officer
- Reflective triangles that you can lay down on the road to notify oncoming cars of your presence
- Place blankets and a jacket in your kit because you might get stuck in the middle of a snow storm
- An ice scraper and a shovel in case you need to dig yourself out of a snow bank
- Bottled water and canned goods are great to have on hand
- Jumper cables for a quick boost
- Tools like a car jack, tire iron and more
- Your roadside assistance card - you may not always have one handy.
In addition to these essentials, if you have a health condition, stock your kit with a little medication. If you're diabetic, it's a good idea to place food items in the kit to keep your blood sugar levels on an even keel. Someone with small children might stuff a few diapers into the kit. Basically, whatever items you can't be without for more than a few hours should make their way into this emergency stockpile.
Someone with small children might stuff a few diapers into the kit.
Take it for a test-run
Gathering the materials is only half the battle. According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, you need to understand the tools in your emergency kit. Take them for a test spin. If necessary, ask a friend or mechanic to show you how to use a wrench, fill fluids or replace a flat tire. Your spare won't do you any good if you can't use the car jack.
It's always best to prepare for the worst. At least if you get stuck on the side of the road, you'll be ready to handle a number of unpredictable scenarios.