Did you know that Americans spend about 1 hour behind the wheel and drive approximately 25 miles a day? That averages out to about six percent of our waking hours spent in a car.
That may not sound like a lot, but in the grand scheme of life, that’s quite a bit of time to spend behind the wheel.
Emergencies and disasters would extend the time and distance depending on the situation, it could even put you at a dead stop.
My point is, we spend a significant time in our vehicles yet we seem to ignore prepping our vehicles for emergencies or disasters.
People get stranded in their vehicle for numerous reasons. Getting stuck in traffic, they get into an accident, they have car problems, etc.
The situations in which you might need emergency gear in your vehicle are numerous.
While you may be thinking, “I’ll never get into a situation where I’ll get stranded.” Never say never! Better to be prepared for yourself, as well as others, instead of struggling should you ever get stuck in your vehicle.
Here are 11 things to always have in your vehicle:
- Extra tools – I always advocate some extra tools to make quick fixes to your vehicle. They should be vehicle specific tools, as well as tools that can help you in an emergency situation such as a multitool. Make sure you know how and when to use the tools.
- Extra water – keep some bottles or a couple gallons of water in your vehicle. Keep them under a blanket or under your seat to keep it out of direct sunlight, but it’s okay if the water gets warm, it won’t hurt the water.
- Extra food – I’ve found that freeze dried food like Mountain House keeps good year round. It’s easy to keep some water and some sort of Heater to heat the water. However, you can also rehydrate freeze dried food with cold water. You could also keep power bars and other ready to eat foods. Just make sure to check them and trade them out to keep them fresh. Don’t forget utensils!
- Extra clothes – keep extra winter and/or summer clothes in your vehicle. Also consider keeping extra blankets.
- First aid kit – a first aid kit can come in handy for yourself or others. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve used the first aid kit from our vehicle.
- Supplies for babies or kids – do you have kids? Consider keeping some toys or coloring books or whatever in your vehicle for entertainment. You could also keep extra diapers and wipes in your vehicle for babies, toddlers or whoever.
- Power inverter – keep a charging cable in your car with a power inverter.
- Fire extinguisher – there are specific fire extinguishers for vehicles. Find an easily accessible place to put it and make sure you know when and how to use it.
- Road flare(s) – road flares will come in handy if you’re ever stranded or need help.
- Get home bag – I would caution against having this in your vehicle at all times, I’d suggest taking this to and from the vehicle just to make sure it doesn’t get stolen. But, lots of people keep their get home bags in their vehicle, it just depends on your comfort level. A get home bag consists of items that you will use to help you get home as quickly as possible (or find help) in case your car were to break down. Items such as: water, ready to eat food, phone battery charger, first aid kit, map/compass, extra supplies for your kid(s) if applicable, flashlight with extra batteries and a sillcock key. You could also have a small survival kit filled with a Mylar blanket, fire making items, knife, water purification straw and anything else you’d want to add in there.
- Physical map – While you might have a map in your get home bag, it doesn’t hurt to have one in the glove box or under the seat, as well. Having a map in your vehicle could help you get out of a bad situation, especially if you have no service on your phone.
When it comes to supplying your vehicle with emergency items, try to think about how long your commute is. If there are any potential obstacles between work and home (such as a bridge over water). How long it’ll take you to get home in case you couldn’t use your vehicle to get home. What are some alternative routes. And so on.
Make sure to pay attention to the routes you take regularly, then think about what you would do in case of an emergency or disaster.
Keep your car stocked, be aware of your regular routes and know what to do in case of an emergency or disaster in case you ever get stuck, stranded or have to flee.
Conquer tomorrow, by preparing today!