Caring for your car goes beyond scheduled maintenance and the occasional repairs to include a sensible plan for emergency care, specifically roadside assistance. If your car breaks down, you need to do what it takes to avoid becoming stranded. Beyond a motor club membership, a roadside assistance kit can get you back on the road when a call for help is out of cell phone range.
Every car should come with a flashlight and an extra set of batteries. Keep the flashlight in your glove box and the extra batteries inside an interior storage compartment.
Additional items include heavy-gauge jumper cables — choose a set up to 20 feet in length to provide sufficient space between vehicles. You’ll also want to include duct tape, gloves, a multipurpose tool, tire sealant, tire gauge and a fire extinguisher.
A cell phone adapter, rain poncho and a tow strap can also prove useful. Separately, purchase a first-aid kit and keep that on hand with your emergency supplies. Periodically swap out the medicines (e.g., aspirin and Ibuprofen) to ensure efficacy.
Winter Kit Upgrade
The average roadside assistance kit contains everything you need, except when driving in cold weather. Indeed, if you become stranded and the air temperature is low, you might quickly develop hypothermia unless you have the tools in place to retain body heat.
For even more extra situations, drivers can also include a windshield scraper with an attached broom, a shovel, matches and small candles, extra hats, socks and mittens, and road salt, sand or kitty litter for traction. Ideally, you’ll store these items in your car in the event the trunk is frozen shut. You can even consider packing along some water and long shelf life food items, such as energy bars, candy bars and dried fruit.
Get Back on the Road
There are times when waiting for help may take too long. And even worse is when you’re stranded and no one can find you, as in a car in a ditch off the highway or on a desolate back road.
This is where including a jump starter/portable power supply can save the day if your battery is dead. Here, you would connect the fully charged unit to your car’s battery and follow the instructions for jumping your car. Ideal for four- and six-cylinder engines, the portable power supply can resurrect a dead battery in moments, allowing you to continue on your journey to safety.
A portable power supply goes beyond providing a charge. It also comes with a USB to microsUSB adapter, a 12-volt port, a USB port and an ultra bright LED light.
On the Road Again!
Get prepared for your next trip now. Assemble a new kit or check your current kit to ensure all supplies are accessible, fresh and usable.
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Photo courtesy of Matthew Keegan.
Matt Keegan has maintained his love for cars ever since his father taught him kicking tires can be one way to uncover a problem with a vehicle’s suspension system. He since moved on to learn a few things about coefficient of drag, G-forces, toe-heel shifting, and how to work the crazy infotainment system in some random weekly driver. Matt is a member of the Washington Automotive Press Association and is a contributor to various print and online media sources.