8 Safety Items to have in your Emergency Kit

When you head out on the road, what are the safety-related items you think about? Obviously, you consider your seatbelts, airbags and headlights. But have you thought about putting together an emergency kit?

During an emergency situation, minor or major, having these items available in your car can protect you and your passengers and save you hassles and money too. Whether you run into problems just happily cruising down the road alone or with family and friends, having an emergency kit for the car will give you peace of mind. Read on to learn what to keep in a car emergency kit.


Jumper Cables

You know that "click-click-click" sound. We've all heard it. It's the sound you get when your engine won't turn over. Make sure you have some jumper cables handy so you can flag down a passerby, a cab or a friend, connect the leads and be on your way. These car breakdown kits can save you time and money because you won't have to wait and pay for a tow truck or mobile mechanic to come to your rescue.
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Check Your Tires
Worn-out tires and tires with thin treads could pose a potential hazard on wet roadways, leading to hydroplaning and disaster. Just as bad or worse, a bald or badly worn tire could result in a blowout, which could cause you to lose control of your vehicle. Check your car's tread depth. A neat trick to use is to insert a penny upside down in the shallowest tread. If you can see all the hair on the top of old Honest Abe Lincoln's head, it's time to replace the tire. While you're at it, check your tire pressure with a new, accurate gauge.
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Owner's Manual
Don't leave home without it. The owner's manual is one of the most important things to keep in your car. From warning light explanations to tire air pressure tips to letting you know exactly what type of oil your car needs, your owner's manual is a critical reference guide. When your car is in trouble, the manual can serve as your first source of how-to information to get you out of an unfamiliar situation.
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First-Aid Kit
Every roadside emergency kit should include basic first aid items deal with minor ills and accidents. Having a fully stocked kit with gauze, bandages and antiseptic wipes as well as sterilized pads and a first-aid manual simply makes sense. A minor scratch or a more serious situation may occur, or you may encounter one along your road trip. Having a first-aid kit on board may save you and your passengers from suffering, aborting a trip or having to race to the nearest doc-in-a-box.


Utility Knife or Swiss Army Knife
These little gadgets really do have a thousand uses. Emergency car kits should preferably include a knife with additional features, including tweezers, screwdriver and more. You just never know what you might need.
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Duct Tape
The Canadian comedian Red Green was right. As he has often noted, "Duct tape is the handyman's secret weapon." The best emergency roadside kits should always include a roll of duct tape. A broken latch, a big crack, a leaky hose: These things can happen when you're on the road. What do you do so you can get back to your garage or to a shop for repairs? Tape it up.


Snacks
Car safety kits should be about comfort as well as safety. Every homemade car survival kit should include some snacks. These can help keep everyone energized on road trips. And if you do become lodged in a snowbank or marooned in a desolate place, you'll be glad you have some chow on hand. On a less dramatic note, we have heard stories about people who spent hours driving around looking for something to eat or who have been stuck in stalled traffic lines for hours on the highway without food. Low blood sugar is nothing to ignore. Granola bars, pretzels, nuts and fruit can make situations like this a lot easier to deal with. Pack a few snacks with you before you head out on the road.


Towels, Paper Towels and Blanket
Auto safety kits should include a blanket or two to keep you and your passengers warm should your vehicle break down in a remote place in cold weather. On a less dire note, automotive safety kits should also include a few cloth towels for working on hot engines or performing other chores. Every good car roadside kit should include some paper towels too. They're great for cleaning up after those snacks mentioned above and can help you perform a host of other tasks from checking the oil to cleaning a foggy windshield.


Flashlight and Fresh Batteries
A working flashlight may seem like a no-brainer item for night-time emergencies. But powerful illumination can really be helpful during the day too when you have to check under the hood or under your car for leaks and other problems. Always ensure your flashlight batteries are still fresh before hitting the road. TIP: While you're at it, it may be a good idea to keep a battery charger for your cell phone on hand. Spare batteries and solar chargers are available too.
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