If you’re like most car owners, chances are there’s trash in your trunk. It’s time to clean it up and make room for some items that might just save your life one day.
You may think you have it—but then again, you may not. It’s time to flip the lid on and take a look at 7 things you don’t want to be stuck in your car without.
Fully loaded fire extinguisher
Unlike the seat belt law, there’s no law that says you have to keep a fire extinguisher in your car. But if your car or any other motorist’s car you encounter on the highway ever catches fire, you’ll be glad to have one. Note that the title above reads “fully loaded fire extinguisher”. That means that once you get your fire extinguisher it should be checked periodically to make sure it is fully charged and functioning. While most car fires are electrical, the fire extinguisher you buy should be qualified to handle all types of fires. You should also know how to use a fire extinguisher properly, as using it incorrectly can result in serious injury.
Tire change kit
Sounds obvious, but flat tires have left many motorists stranded on the road. They neglected to make sure they had full tire change arrangements in the trunk. Spare tire fully loaded, check. Jack, check. Wheel lock, check. Chock or wooden block so that the car does not roll if it is on an incline, check. Once the full setup is installed, your job isn’t done. You now have to make sure that you and everyone else who will be driving the car are knowledgeable about how to change a flat tire. The best way to do this is to give a tire changing tutorial where you physically walk through each step.
Reflective sign or road beacon
You can’t control where your car breaks down, but you can be prepared to warn other drivers about any road hazards that happen to your car. Road beacons or reflective triangles are important emergency items that can save your life and the lives of other motorists.
There’s nothing quite like the sinking feeling you get when you start your car and find that the battery is dead. Fortunately, most riders will be willing to give you a jumpstart. But don’t bet on those with jumper cables. It is best to take your own device on the road. Make sure your cables are in good condition and the positive and negative clamps are clearly marked and corrosion free. Plus, you’ll want to make sure you know how to use it properly.
Fully functional flashlight
A flashlight is another essential item to keep in your car. As well as providing highway lighting at night, a flashlight is useful when looking under the hood, under a seat or in the trunk during the day. Buy a special flashlight for your car. If you live where it often rains on the street, a waterproof flashlight is a good idea. And while you’re at it, stock up on a new set of batteries so you’ll have a nice bright light when you need it.
You never know when you might need to provide first aid while on the road. Your car first aid kit should contain the basics, such as bandages, tweezers and antibiotic ointment. Pain relievers and instant hot or cold compresses may also be included. For those with medical conditions that require prescription medication, a one-day supply should be included if displaced. Be sure to check all expiration dates to make sure all items in the kit are up to date.
In the event of an emergency on the road where you are stranded for a long time or requires power, such as changing a tire in extreme weather, you should keep a few bottles of water in the trunk. Make sure all passengers stay well hydrated. On that note, for those who live in areas where being stranded in inclement weather can be a real possibility—especially during the cold season—it’s best to be prepared by stocking up on extra blankets and warm clothes.