You know you’ve thought about it, more than once.Every time there is a news story about some family whose car broke down in the wilderness on a road trip across America, you think about it. Every time some motorist ends up stranded somewhere for days, you think about it.Whether they broke down in the middle of the Rockies in winter, or Death Valley in the middle of summer, you wonder whether you would be able to survive under the same circumstances.You think, “I should really throw together some kind of auto emergency supply kit, just in case.” But there are so many other things to do that it gets pushed to the bottom of your to-do list.The thing is, the time for emergency preparedness is before the emergency happens.If your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere and you’re stranded there for a few hours, would you be prepared? How about for a few days?Do you even know what you would need? Well, here is a list of some essential supplies.Emergency Auto Repair Tools & SuppliesObviously, the first order of business when your car breaks down is to a) call for help and b) try to fix the problem and get back on the road as soon as possible.If the cavalry (or your local tow truck) is not going to come to your rescue immediately, you’re going to need some basic auto repair tools and supplies on hand:Cell Phone & Car Charger – so you can call for help.First Aid Kit – This should include the basics from bandages to painkillers.Fire Extinguisher –you should have a small dry-chemical fire extinguisher with you to put out small car fires.Safety Items that make you more visible — Safety Vests, Reflective Triangles, Warning Lights or Flares.Tire Gauge – to check tire pressure.Spare Tire, Tire Jack & Lug WrenchFlat Tire Repair Kit – including tire sealant and a small air compressor to reinflate flat tires temporarily.Jumper CablesFlashlight – so you can make repairs in the dark if you break down at night. Either make sure you have fresh batteries or keep a flashlight in your car that can be charged by hand.Multi-Purpose Tool that includes pliers, cutters, screwdriver heads (standard and Phillips), knives, etc.You might also consider stocking a few items your car might get low on: small quantities of motor oil, coolant or windshield wiper fluid.Survival Basics: Long-Term Emergency SuppliesAs with any emergency kit, you have to think of basic survival needs if you are going to be anywhere for more than a couple of hours:Food – Think non-perishable items that can keep in the car for a long time, are compact and nutrient-dense, such as energy bars or granola bars.Water – Can be bought in foil pouches that don’t take up a lot of room and have a shelf-life of many years. Or you can stock a few bottles in the car.Blankets – For keeping warm if you have to stay in your car overnight or in cold weather.Cold Weather SuppliesIf you live in (or plan to drive through) an area that has cold winters, you’ll need a few more supplies to make sure you can survive cold days and nights. In addition to the basics, you’ll need:Reflective/ Mylar Emergency Blankets or Sleeping Bags to keep warmHand WarmersWindshield ice scraper/snow brushSmall shovel – for digging out of snowBag of cat litter – for when you need some additional traction on ice or snowOther items that might come in handy: waterproof matches, lighters or fire starters; extra socks, jackets, hats or other layering items; and lightweight plastic rain ponchos.Putting It All TogetherWhile pulling together all of the items listed in this article may sound expensive, you can get decent auto emergency kits online or at your local auto parts store for anywhere from $25 (basic) to $150 (deluxe).But you probably have a lot of these items in your car or home. Just put them together into a convenient backpack, fill in the gaps in your emergency kit, put it in the trunk of your car, and you will have one less thing to worry about.
The next time you see a news story about a stranded motorist, you’ll relax knowing that if it ever happens to you, you’ll be prepared.