8 Essentials to Stock in Your Emergency Car Kit

Have you ever noticed that whenever a small earthquake shakes Vancouver Island and surrounding areas, out come all the emergency preparedness headlines? The only reason these reminders exist is because few people are prepared for disaster around here, and the media knows it!

The truth is, it’s not that people are too lazy or too cheap to think about preparing for an emergency, it’s just that most of us don’t want to think about the possibility of something bad happening. It’s just not something we place on the top of our minds—same goes for taxes, rising food costs, climate change and the like. So, items in our emergency kits remain on the store shelves, waiting to be assembled.

Well, I’m here to tell you that experiencing an emergency while on the road is a lot more likely than a tidal wave or the Big One coming for us, and that preparing for a roadside emergency takes very little effort and space inside your vehicle. In fact, there are emergency car-care kits available at stores that have included some or all of these components for you already. It’s just a matter of picking one up, or putting it on your birthday wish list.

Car Emergency Kit from Canadian TireHere are the bare essentials you should be stocking in your car emergency kit:

  1. Blankets or big towels
    Blankets are lightweight items that can save your skin if you’ve ever trapped down an embankment or stranded with no gas for an overnight stay on the side of a deserted road. You probably already have a ton of blankets hanging out in the linen closet somewhere. Put them to better use. They double as beach blankets, too!
  2. Bottles of water and non-perishable food
    No, you won’t need a week’s supply of rations or anything like that, but some hydration and nourishment to last at least 72 hours will be a lifesaver if you find yourself in the same overnight scenarios as in the point above. Just pick up some granola bars during the next case lot sale at the grocery store, along with a flat of water, and you’re set.
  3. First-aid kit
    These can be picked up fairly inexpensively at any hardware store on big box store, but it’s just as easy to assemble your own. Items found in a first-aid kit are the usual suspects: bandages, gauze, slings, antibacterial wipes, safety pins and so on.
  4. Jumper cables
    Many people have roadside assistance  packages these days and might be neglecting having jumper cables in the trunk. Otherwise, people without jumper cables are assuming a stranger in a parking lot will have jumper cables in their hour of need. However, we believe you shouldn’t rely on others. Always travel with jumper cables, should the unthinkable happen. Jumper cables are often a component of emergency roadside assistance kits.
  5. Emergency Roadside Assistance Kits
    Available for less money than you’d think, emergency car care kits are compact and provide all the basic essentials you’ll need to keep you safe should you find yourself broken down on the side of the road. Along with jumper cables, these kits usually include tow ropes, signal cones, blankets, flashlights, light sticks, and gloves. Some even come with an abbreviated first-aid kit.
  6. Spare tire
    Most cars come equipped with these already, so no worries there, but have you checked on it in a while to make sure it’s inflated and in otherwise good condition? Some folks I know also travel with a portable air compressor, which plugs into the cigarette lighter and can inflate a tire on the spot, provided the car battery has enough juice.
  7. Flashlight
    Yes, I know many of you have a flashlight on your phone that has probably already come in pretty handy a few times this year, but consider packing a heavy-duty one in the trunk just in case, along with working + backup batteries. This way, in an emergency, your phone can be used as a phone, not a flashlight.

That reminds me, although it goes without saying, a phone definitely has a place on our list of things to stock in your car’s emergency kit.

You can get started with an emergency car kit from Canadian Tire, here.

Commuter Auto Safety Kit from Canadian TireAdditional Items

Based on your lifestyle, how much off-roading, camping and fishing you’re into, and the size of your vehicle, you might also choose to stock additional items in your vehicle, either seasonally or year-round:

  • Extra clothing
  • Extra pairs of shoes or boots
  • Small shovel, ice scraper and brush
  • Waterproof matches
  • Compass and road maps (in case your phone dies!)
  • Road flares
  • Antifreeze
  • Windshield wiper fluid
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Salt/sand
  • Heavy-duty scissors/seat-belt cutter

At Searles, we believe in not leaving anything to chance! A big component of being prepared for emergencies on the road is ensuring your vehicle is in top-operating condition. Many emergencies are avoidable! Stop by and see us for a quick, peace-of-mind vehicle inspection. We are located at 517 Kelvin Rd. in Victoria, BC.

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