What Should Your Car’s Emergency Kit Include? 

car emergency kit

As Labor Day approaches, many individuals, couples, and families will take off on road trips or vacations for the last long summer weekend. Before you head out on your trip, it’s important to ensure that your vehicle is stocked with an emergency survival kit so that you are prepared for any situation you may encounter on the road.

The last thing you want is to break down while driving through the Catskills or sparsely populated upstate New York without drinking water, snacks, emergency tools, and other supplies. Below, we have compiled a list of emergency kit essentials to pack before you head out on vacation this September.

Emergency Kit Essentials

Emergency kits should include the following items. The National Safety Council recommends checking your kit every six months and replacing items that have expired with new ones.

  • Jumper cables, if your car’s battery dies
  • A spare tire that has been fully inflated
  • Car repair tools including an appropriate jack, a wheel wrench, and other tools
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Flashlight
  • Extra batteries
  • Reflective triangles or cones that you can place near the road to make other motorists aware of your presence
  • Brightly colored clothing and reflective vests
  • First aid kit stocked with: band-aids, gauze, medical tape, triple antibiotic ointment, painkillers or anti-inflammatory drugs, gloves, tweezers, scissors, hydrocortisone or other anti-itch cream, thermometers, cold compresses
  • Compass
  • Blankets
  • Nutrient-dense non-perishable snacks, such as trail mix
  • Bottled water
  • Cell phone and car charger
  • Duct tape or boxing tape
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Rain jackets
  • Cold weather items including windshield scrapers, snowshoes, a shovel, extra washer fluid, tire chains for traction, and warm clothing

Finally, you will want to ensure that you can easily access the phone numbers of any emergency contacts, including friends and family members, as well as your car insurance company and a towing company you know and trust.

Tips For Driver Safety

Over the summer, on Labor Day weekend, and other holidays, road traffic tends to increase. For this reason, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with driver safety tips to protect yourself, your friends, your significant other, and your family members on the road.

Get an inspectionIf your car hasn’t been inspected recently, take it to a certified inspection facility and have the inspector evaluate the roadworthiness of your vehicle.

Get a tune-up – Replace any fluids, belts, spark plugs, brake pads, etc., that need replacement.

Check your battery – Buy a digital multimeter and use it to test your battery’s voltage.

Check tire pressure – Use a tire pressure gauge to test the pressure of each tire. The correct amount of pressure will be listed on the rim of each tire. Ensure that all tires contain roughly the same amount of pressure for proper balance.

Change the oil – Either have the oil changed at a local shop or change the oil yourself. If the oil is still relatively new, check the oil level and consider topping it off with the appropriate oil if need be.

Set Your GPS beforehand – Don’t try to adjust or use your GPS while you are already on the road. It is best to input your destination before you head out on your trip so that you don’t have to mess with it while you are trying to focus on driving.

Buckle up – Ensure that you and all of your passengers wear their seat belts before you depart. Children who are under the age of 13 should ride in the backseat at all times. If you have an infant who rides in a car seat, ensure that the car seat is appropriately secured in the backseat, with the back of the car seat facing the front of the vehicle.

Don’t get distracted – Driving while distracted is one of the most common causes of traffic-related accidents in the United States. Distractions cause a driver to take their eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, focus off the task of driving, and sometimes all three at once. Distracted driving includes activities such as:

  • Texting
  • Talking on the phone
  • Eating and drinking
  • Holding a pet
  • Personal grooming
  • Daydreaming
  • Looking at billboards or construction sites
  • Talking to passengers
  • Adjusting the radio
  • Adjusting the GPS
  • Taking photos and videos
  • Playing games

Texting is one of the most common types of distracted driving and regularly causes accidents. Avoid distracted driving by putting your phone away and out of reach before you leave, setting your GPS in the driveway, and doing your best to focus exclusively on the task of driving. If you need to make a call, send a text, or grab a bite to eat, it’s best to pull over to a safe spot and continue driving afterward.

Don’t drive while drowsy – Many travelers spend long hours behind the wheel without a break, often in an attempt to get to their destination as quickly as possible. But this can cause drivers to become drowsy, which can, in turn, lead to devastating accidents. If you start to feel tired, consider allowing your significant other, family member or friend to drive while you rest, or pull over to a rest stop or hotel and take a nap before continuing your journey.

Don’t drink and drive – Alcohol impairs a person’s ability to concentrate on the task of driving and slows down their reaction time when encountering road hazards. Drunk and intoxicated driving has led to many fatal collisions over the years. If you’ve been drinking, don’t drive, or select a designated driver to drive you and your passengers to your destination.

How A New York Car Accident Attorney Can Help

Even when you have done everything to prepare for your trip, accidents could still happen. If another motorist’s negligence has harmed you, contact the New York City car accident lawyers at Finz & Finz, P.C. today. We will review your case, advise you of your legal options, gather evidence to help support your claim and pursue the compensation you need to recover on your behalf. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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Finz & Finz, P.C. is a New York and Long Island personal injury law firm based out of Mineola, NY. It was founded in 1984 and is highly rated, with many honors and awards of excellence.