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Do you remember the last time you were stranded in your car? Wasn’t much fun was it?
The wasted time is one thing, but being stranded without any necessities is downright dangerous. Don’t let the warm weather fool you; you need to plan for an emergency just as much if not more this time of year. More people travel during the warmer weather months, and there’s a higher chance of breakdowns and accidents.
As you’re planning your spring vacation trips and summer excursions, now’s the time to consider the must-haves you should include in your warm weather emergency car kit.
Warm Weather Emergency Car Kit Must Haves
A car emergency kit is one of those things that you don’t think much about until it’s too late. Then you’ll wish you didn’t leave home without one.
Many people make the mistake thinking they’re ok with their AAA membership and a well-running car. But I’d challenge you to think closely on this one.
Breakdowns, flat tires, unexpected severe weather, and accidents happen, and sometimes you’re not so lucky to be in a well-lit area, with great phone reception and a tow truck near by. Sometimes you’re in the middle of now where.
I remember a few years ago, my mother I attended a wedding in Vermont. We were up around Lake Champlain, and it was time to go home. It was pitch black out, and I couldn’t figure out how to get back on the main road. I was completely lost. My mother started to chuckle, and I began to panic at the thought of being lost in the middle of the Green Mountains. Luckily, I had good enough phone reception to call my Uncle to get us out our predicament. But I’ve never forgotten that night. That’s why my car kit is fully stocked and in the trunk of my car.
Remember, even if your car appears in good working order, unexpected things can happen. And the farther away from home, the more remote the area and the more inclement the weather, the more likely the contents of a car emergency kit will come in handy. A car emergency kit is designed to help you survive until help arrives.
What To Include In Your Warm Weather Emergency Car Kit
- Toilet paper – Remove tubes of a four-pack and flatten. Store in a Ziploc bag.
- Hand sanitizer – Store in a Ziploc bag to prevent leakage.
- Toothbrush, toothpaste, and dental floss – Pack a set of travel sized for each member in a zip-top bag labeled with each person’s name.
- Plastic tablecloth – This can cover questionable surfaces when you’re ready for a meal or a diaper change.
- Trash bags – These are useful for lining a 5-gallon bucket for an emergency potty.
- Baby wipes
- Bar of soap – Store in a zip-lock bag or soap box.
- Disinfecting wipes
- Feminine protection
- Small box of tissues
- Ziploc bags in different sizes – Can be used for multiple purposes.
- Water – A case of water bottles or cleaned 2-liter soda bottles, filled with water and tightly closed. I like Emergency Water Pouches because you don’t have to worry about heat ruining the taste of the water.
- Water filter – I like the Life-Straw, it is both lightweight and highly portable.
- LED flashlights and/or headlamps
- Rain ponchos
- Emergency radio – Choose a model that is either solar and battery-powered or hand cranked and battery-powered.
- Heavy-duty trash bags
- Reflective emergency blanket/sleeping bag
- Duct tape – The uses for duct tape are endless.
- Fleece blankets – Roll and store under the seats for easiest access. Use them as a window shade, ground cover, changing pad or many other purposes.
- General purpose utility rope
- Multi-purpose knife.
- Extra batteries
- Hand/foot warmers – Yes, even in summer. If you’re stranded overnight in the mountains, you’ll be cold, and you’ll be glad you have these.
- Work gloves
- Small shovel
- Fire-starters – such as waterproof matches, flint or a Blast Match which shoots sparks with three times the heat of a standard match
- High-quality first-aid kit – Don’t skimp here, the contents could save a life.
- Small pair of scissors
- Small Back Pack – If you ever have to leave your vehicle for safer ground, this will enable you to take essential items with you.
- Walking shoes for each member of the family. Your feet will thank you if you have to hoof it anywhere
- Medications – Make sure you only pack those that aren’t temperature-sensitive.
- Face mask – A simple mask will come in handy around a forest fire or high levels of smog.
- Bug repellent
- Survival and first aid manuals
- Energy bars – Choose high-calorie options.
- Nuts, trail mix (no chocolate), shelled sunflower seeds
- V-8 juice, sports drinks
- Jerky, tuna packs
- Peanut or other nut butter in foil packets.
- Dried fruit
- Fruit cups
- Dry cereal
- Cash, coins – Power outages also take out ATMs. Having cash for gas, a restaurant meal or hotel room might put you ahead of those who only have a debit or credit card.
- Disposable camera – This could be very helpful in documenting a car accident, license plates, injuries or storm damage.
- Pepper spray – Makes a great bear spray too!
- Emergency phone numbers on a laminated card.
- Cell Phone and Charger and extra battery
- Reflective Vest
To Keep You Sane
- Deck of cards
- Foam ear plugs
- Books on CD, paperbacks
- Inspirational or motivational book
- Small journal/pen or pencil
- Lip balm
- Battery-powered fan
For The Car
- Anti-freeze/coolant (gallon)
- Bright-colored cloth (preferably red)
- Can of motor oil
- Cones, warning triangles and emergency flares (keep in the trunk)
- Empty gas can
- Fire extinguisher (5 lb., A-B-C type)
- Jack for tires
- Jumper cables
- Road atlas, maps
- Sealant for small leaks in tires
- Spare tire
- Tire pressure gauge
- Toolbox with screwdrivers, wrenches and a small
- Hammer (keep this in glove compartment)
- Tow rope
- Windshield washer fluid
If You Have Children
If you have kids, you’ll need some additional supplies on hand. First, a second set of clothes will come in handy if any of the children have a blowout in their pants or end up car sick. You’ll want to use those garbage bags to cover the seats too!
Have a good supply of games and cards on hand for the kids but don’t store crayons or you’ll have a big mess on your hands.
If you have an infant, you’ll need formula or if you’re pumping consider storing a breast pump and batteries.
If you’re pregnant, you’ll need other supplies as well so make sure you plan accordingly before you leave for your trip. You might want to have an emergency birthing plan written up and included with your other supplies. Make sure to pack what you’d need in the event you’d go into labor.
Other Things To Consider
Don’t ever go under 1/4 of a tank of gas if you’re driving a car. For vans or trucks stay above a 1/2 a tank. Fill up whenever you can so that you’ll have what you need to start your car and warm up until help arrives. That amount of gas might be what you need to charge your phone or other devices.
No matter when you travel, make sure your family is safe by having a well-stocked car emergency kit on hand to handle any emergency that comes up.
Remember, don’t leave home without it!