Roadside Emergency Safety

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (www.NHTSA.gov) website, even a well-maintained or brand new vehicle can break down, so it’s advisable to put together an emergency roadside kit to carry with you. A cell phone tops the list of suggested emergency kit contents since it allows you to call for help when and where you need it and many newer vehicles have subscription services such as OnStar that will contact a roadside service for you. 

However, having an emergency roadside kit is still a good idea.  Some basic contents you might need are:

  • Cell phone and charger
  • First aid kit
  • Flashlight
  • Flares
  • White Flag (If you need help, tie a white cloth to the left door handle or the radio aerial and raise the hood of the vehicle – this will signal police and other drivers that you are in need of assistance.)
  • Jumper cables
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Jack (and ground mat) for changing a tire
  • Work gloves and a change of clothes
  • Basic repair tools and some duct tape (for temporarily repairing a hose leak)
  • Water and paper towels for cleaning up
  • Nonperishable food, drinking water, and medicines
  • Extra windshield washer fluid
  • Maps
  • Emergency blankets, towels and coats
  • Extra shoes/boots

You can modify your kit to suit the season, such as sunscreen and bug spray for summer and an old metal coffee can and candle with matches for winter (can be a source of heat and light if you are stranded for hours) along with extra hats, scarves and gloves or mittens.  Check out your local auto store for First Aid kits and road side emergency kits – Amazon, Meijer, Target and Walmart are also good sources to purchase any needed items. 

It is a good idea to check your kit on a regular basis and replace outdated or used items. 

Also check out www.safercar.gov which is part of the NHTSA, a web site where you can check for safety recalls via your VIN and if you are in the market for a new vehicle, you can check out vehicle safety ratings. You can also report a vehicle problem and file a complaint.  This website is a great resource for vehicle related safety information – they even have a “parents central” page with info for parents from child safety car seats to driving teenagers. 

We wish you a fun and safe summer!


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