Is Your Car Emergency Ready?

Everyone thinks that they’re a great driver, but according to Fox Business, the average driver has a car accident every 17.9 years. And taking a wider view at national statistics, there are over 5.89 million car crashes each year according to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). Of those, approximately 21 percent of crashes (over 1.23 million car crashes) are weather-related, meaning they take place under adverse weather conditions such as rain, sleet, snow, fog, or slick pavements. So no matter how cautious you are, Mother Nature may have other plans. To further complicate these weather related incidents, with each degree drop in winter air temperature, ambulance response times drop by 1 percent. There’s no doubt that poor weather conditions will also reduce response times for all other help such as roadside assistance. Is your car emergency-ready for odds like these?

As is the case with most emergencies, collisions and other road accidents can happen anywhere at any time. The unpredictable nature of events like this give us more reason to prepare for such scenarios. However, most drivers fail to have a basic car emergency kit on hand. In a study conducted by Siegfried & Jensen, the average American was found to have just half of the eight recommended essential emergency items in their car. The least commonly carried item from this list of essentials turned out to be road flares — only 12 percent of surveyed Americans had these in their car. Surprisingly, 23 percent of Americans (that’s 11 percent more than those who carried road flares) had paper maps in their car, despite the modern day usage of GPS on mobile devices.

Whether you are involved in a car accident or waiting for roadside assistance, you should always have a basic emergency kit on hand. This equipment can help you to get back on the road sooner and can ensure that you have the basic necessities to keep yourself or someone else safe until help arrives.

What You Should Have in a Basic Emergency Kit

If you are putting together an emergency kit for your vehicle, DMV.org recommends including these basic essentials:

  • Spare tire
  • Tire changing tools
  • Jumper cables
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit
    • Bandages
    • Hand sanitizer
    • Antiseptic
    • Antibiotic ointment
    • Bug spray
    • Aspirin (or similar)
    • Cotton balls
    • Gauze pads
    • Tweezers
    • Bandana
    • Ace bandage
  • Water Bottle
  • Tool kit
  • Road flares

There are many premade emergency kit options available. Although these kits can be a great start, customizing yours will allow for items that are better suited for the condition of your car, local weather patterns, and needs of any family members.

Additional Items You Should Consider Adding to Your Kit 

If you want to be even more prepared, consider including these extra items to upgrade your emergency kit:

  • Fire extinguisher – choose a small one to store easily
  • Rain ponchos
  • Tarp
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Rags
  • Duct tape
  • Scent free baby wipes
  • Drinking water
  • Non-perishable snacks
  • Multipurpose tool
  • Collapsible shuttle
  • Ice scraper
  • Cat litter – for slick roads
  • Small battery-powered fan
  • Blankets and/or warm clothing
  • Cell phone car charger
  • Cash for gas
  • Refillable gas jug

About the author:

Tammy Yu is a digital marketer at Distilled. As a driver of 6 years, she has encountered 2 flat tires. Her preparedness and roadside emergency kit helped get her safely back on the road.

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