If you travel a lot or are heading off on a long journey then you definitely should consider including a vehicle safety kit in your car. This could prove invaluable in case you get stranded for a few hours or even a few days due to conditions beyond your control, be it an emergency, travel delay or atrocious weather conditions.
So what do you need to make the ultimate vehicle safety kit? First, you want to make sure you have the basic essentials such as water, food, and warmth. After these have been included you can add other useful items such as an emergency light, first aid items, tools and other accessories:
Most people can survive days without food, but your body will dehydrate quickly without water. Water is also useful for washing wounds and can be used if your car overheats. Store it in soft drink bottles or, if space is scarce, try the flatter emergency water packs.
If your car breaks down and you are many miles from any town or shop, you don’t want to go hungry. High calorie nut or yoghurt bars are a great stopgap measure; they deliver plenty of energy yet don’t take up much room in the car.
Especially in the winter, warmth is a must for an vehicle safety kit. Woollen blankets are ideal as wool is one of nature’s warmest fibres providing protection against cold even when wet. It is quite bulky however, so if space is at a premium, try emergency blankets and bags as they are lightweight and can fold down to pocket size. They’re made of a reflective material that retains up to 80% of your radiant body heat to help keep you warm.
Keep a few extra clothes handy in case you get wet or caught in cold weather. A poncho or lightweight raincoat is also very helpful if you need to change a tyre out in the rain.
It’s important to always keep some form of light source in your emergency car kit too, as it’s hard to do much in pitch black. LED lights have a much higher battery life than conventional flashlights, while lightsticks can last for 12 hours and are safe for children. They are also visible up to one mile away, are non-toxic and non-flammable.
Flares are a universal warning signal so use them only when you need help – not as a light source.
First aid items
If injury occurs, every second counts because help may be hours or days away. A first aid kit allows you to assist with injuries until help arrives. The following list would make an excellent medical companion for the road:
- Antiseptic wipes / cream
- Latex gloves
- Bandages, tape, gauze
- Burn ointment
- Antibiotic / hydrocortisone cream
- Anti-histamine cream
- Cold compress
- Insect repellent
- Scissors, tweezers
- Water bottle
- Saline solution
- CPR barrier
- Anti nausea pills
- Vitamin A cream
- Aloe Vera cream
- Toilet paper
A good selection of tools kept in the boot should offer a solution to most problems. Here’s a useful selection:
- Jumper leads
- Spare tyre
- Window washer fluid
- Tyre chains
- Strong rope
- Siphon pump
- Tyre iron
- A collapsible shovel (for snow).
There are several kinds of pre-packaged emergency car kits available on the market, or you can customize your own to meet your own needs by including medications and eyeglasses etc. Keep your kit in a compact case so it can fit easily in the boot or under a seat.