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An Emergency Kit for Your Car
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BDR Automotive

An Emergency Kit for Your Car: Why You Need One and What to Put in It

Having and maintaining an Emergency Kit for your car is one of the most important things you can do for your and your family’s safety this winter. Hopefully, you will never need it, but if you find yourself in an emergency, you’ll have what you need to deal with it.

Remember to tailor your Emergency Kit to the age and condition of your automobile, your driving patterns, and the weather. Living in New England means you’ll need items to address snow and/or freezing rain. We’ve listed the basics, as well as some other items you might consider including in your Emergency Kit.

  • Jumper Cables in case your battery fails. Be sure to get the appropriate ones for your car – 12’ to 20’ in length. You can also use a small, portable, lithium-ion battery with jumper cables that can also recharge cell phones and computers. These portable batteries need to be kept charged and range between $60 and $120 in cost.
  • Shovel to clear out your car if snow has been falling while you were away from your car, shopping or at work. Consider a foldable shovel to save space.
  • Ice Scraper. It may seem a no-brainer, but scrapers tend to get lost or broken easily, so you might consider more than one. An ice scraper with a brush and a gloved handle is ideal.
  • Ice Melt (rock salt) or Kitty Litter is essential for those times when ice forms under your tires.
  • Batteries (and a flashlight) in case you get stuck at night or need to peer inside the engine or around your car in the dark.
  • Gloves – the extra heavy work-type that will not only keep your hands warm while shoveling or clearing snow and ice from the windows but will keep them safe if you must change a tire.
  • Flares to alert passing vehicles in the event you are stuck beside the road. Triangle reflectors are good for this purpose or you might consider LED flares which are rechargeable and super bright.
  • Traction Mat or Sand to place under tires in the event you get stuck in snow or ice. (The bags of sand or kitty litter can be placed on the floor in the back seat for added traction.)
  • Blankets to keep warm while waiting for road-side assistance.
  • Bottled Water

The National Safety Council also provides some great suggestions for an emergency car kit.

Emergency Kit Extra Precautions

You may also want to add these items if your commute is long or if you’d feel more comfortable with these additional safety precautions:

  • A quart of motor oil
  • Antifreeze
  • First-aid kit
  • Tool kit
  • Tire inflator/sealant such as Fix-a-Flat
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Paper towels
  • Spray bottle with washer fluid
  • Pen and paper
  • No-spill gas can
  • Spare car fuses
  • Car escape tool (seatbelt cutter/window breaker)
  • Car fire extinguisher
  • Duct tape
  • Road maps

A Road Trip Emergency Kit

If you are driving long distances or are embarking on a road trip this winter, you might add the following to your kit … in the event of a real emergency:

  • Sleeping bag
  • Extra gloves, boots, wool socks, wool stocking cap
  • Hand-held GPS unit
  • Cell phone charger
  • Hand-crank radio
  • Granola/Energy bars

When you’ve assembled your Emergency Kit, keep all the items together in a simple cardboard box or a canvas bag or backpack. Familiarize yourself with all the items you’ve collected and how to use them properly. Keep a list of everything in the bag and be sure to replace anything you use.

Staying Safe

If you have a breakdown or accident, be sure to stop out of the flow of traffic, on the road shoulder, if possible. Turn on your emergency flashers and call for roadside assistance. Stay in the vehicle (if in a safe place) until help arrives.

Take extra caution this winter, by removing snow and ice from all over the car before driving. Make sure you give yourself additional time to travel and watch for unsafe drivers. Allow for more space between your car and others and be ready to respond to icy roads.

Winterize your Car with these Ten Tips! 

If you have questions or would like guidance about what to put into your Emergency Kit, contact us at BDR Automotive at 508-429-4720 or send us an email.

Chris Grady
Chris has joined the BDR team as highly certified technician. He is a hard worker and very reliable. Chris specializes in diagnostics and prides himself on proficiency and getting the job done right the first time! Chris has the proven ability to deliver quality work with excellent customer satisfaction. Chris attended Mass Bay Community College where he earned his degree in Automotive Technology. He has gone on to become ASE certified as well as having certifications in KIA and TOYOTA diagnostics.

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