There’s one thing more important than reaching your destination when you set out on a road trip. That’s helping to ensure the safety of yourself, your passengers and other drivers on the road. Especially as millions of Americans take to our roadways to visit friends and family during the Thanksgiving holiday, the best journey is a safe one.
If an emergency does occur – an accident, a part failure or a weather emergency – a little preparation goes a long way. Making sure your car is ready for Thanksgiving travel is a good start. You should also prepare a road trip survival kit that will help you in an emergency.
Must Have Items: Don’t leave on a long-distance trip without these crucial survival tools.
- Phone charger
- Map (and/or updated GPS; maps work even when a car battery is dead)
- $20 cash for tolls or emergencies
- First aid kit
- Drinking water
- Properly inflated spare tire, jack and lug wrench
- Flashlight or headlamp (hand-crank flashlights are ideal for emergencies)
- Pocket knife/multi-tool
- Visibility equipment (flares or reflective hazard triangles)
- Snacks (nuts are great, but go for unsalted ones)
Additional Safety/Breakdown Equipment: Do-it-yourselfers and those with less reliable vehicles may want to bring some extra roadside repair tools and supplies.
- Portable battery charger (also called “jump box” – be sure it’s fully charged)
- Jumper cables (also called “booster cables”)
- Tire sealant (or the following three items)
- 12-volt air compressor
- Tire repair plug kit
- Tire pressure gauge
- Siphon pump
- Tow strap
- Tool kit (assemble a kit with commonly used tools like screwdrivers, pliers and a few wrenches)
- Duct tape
Cold Weather Gear: If you’re traveling in areas with even a chance of harsh winter weather, take some items to deal with the elements.
Comfort and Convenience Items: You don’t have to bring these, but they may make your drive easier.
- iPod/MP3 player
- Portable DVD player
- Notebook computer or tablet
- Travel pillow
- Windshield sunshade; retractable side window sunshade
You probably already have some of these items. Go ahead and gather them and mark them off your list. Check out all the maintenance parts available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information making a road trip survival kit, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store. NAPA wishes you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving and safe holiday travels.
Nick Palermo is a freelance automotive writer and NAPA Know How blogger. Since becoming an auto news and reviews contributor at AutoTrader.com in 2011, he has broadened his coverage of the automotive industry to include topics like new car technology, antiques and classics, DIY maintenance and repair, industry news and motorsports. A committed advocate for automotive media professionals, Nick is a member of the Greater Atlanta Automotive Media Association.