With temperatures dipping into single digits across most of the U.S. this month, the last thing anyone needs is to be stranded along the side of the road unprepared. Whether you're morning commute is 5 miles or 50, it's always a good idea to ensure that you have some basic emergency supplies in your car at all times.
It's been more than a decade since I was stranded in a snow storm here in Nashville and a normal 20-minute commute home took several hours. I was completely unprepared, as were most Nashville commuters. The unexpected winter storm took Nashville by surprise and hundreds of commuters were stranded roadside, with many downtown workers resorting to staying overnight in hotels or even sleeping in their offices. It was during that very cold and slippery drive home that I realized that I wasn't adequately prepared for a roadside emergency.
You may think a flashlight and jumper cables are all you need to be prepared for a roadside emergency, especially in this day and age of smart phone use 24/7. There are several items to include in a car emergency kit to ensure safety and reduce stress. You never know when your phone signal will drop or when you will accidentally leave your phone at home.
Whether you face unexpected surprises from Mother Nature or a flat tire, being prepared is key. Here is a helpful checklist to include in your car emergency kit:
- Bottled water
- Protein bars
- Can of tire sealant
- Ice scraper
- Jumper cables
- Tire gauge
- Reflective roadside triangles
- Winter formula window washer solvent
- Rain poncho
- Extra socks, hats, gloves, and hand warmers
- Flashlight and extra batteries
Besides putting together an emergency kit, which can be stored in your trunk, I would also recommend making sure you have a full tank of gas and a fully-charged cell phone at all times, especially if you are going to be out in inclement weather. It's also important to let a friend or family member know if you are heading somewhere outside of your usual routine, such as a sporting event or an after-hours meeting.
I would also personally recommend a AAA membership. My dad has a family membership and it came in handy one afternoon when my car battery died after a soccer game.
Do you have an emergency kit in your car? What items would you add to this list?