It wouldn't even have to be a major disaster. In a country with freeways and belt routes strung from border-to-border and plagued with traffic congestion, it is always possible to be caught in a gridlock, maybe for hours at a time because of an accident or weather conditions.
I remember the time we were returning to our home in Colorado Springs at Christmas time. If you've ever been on I-70 heading towards Denver on a Sunday night in winter, you can guess what happened to us: major gridlock traffic!
Since this was the first time we'd ever come this way on a Sunday night, we assumed there must be a really terrible accident up ahead. Wrong! It was just the skiers returning home from the ski resorts where they spent the weekend.
After an hour of inching a foot at a time along the freeway, we realized two very bad things:
- we might run out of gas before seeing any gas stations, and;
- we were in a spot where there are no exits to any towns where we might find...ummm...a restroom!
Since we were crawling so slowly, we seriously thought about taking turns hopping out of the car, running to the side of the road, finding a thick bush, and, you know, taking care of business. But the thought of all those people watching and knowing exactly what we were doing — nope, not doing that.
I'm pretty sure not many people carry an extra full gas can when going on trips, but we probably should — as part of our auto emergency kit. What was important to have that day, or any winter day, in our emergency kit would obviously be warm clothes, boots, a lightweight wool blanket (for each of us), and probably hand or body warmers.
Traveling any distance, especially with children, it is well worth it to put an auto emergency kit in your car with extras for each person, depending on the season and the distance you are traveling.
Pack extra clothing or items for warmth that are weather-dependent for your area or the area you will be traveling to.
How many people are in your car most of the time? The answer will determine the contents and the amount of supplies in your car kit.
A backpack is the perfect container for most of the extra items. Pack what is necessary so that regardless of the circumstances you will be able to walk away from your car with the supplies that will sustain you if it becomes necessary.
The Inevitable Emergencies
Like situations where you might need to jump start a battery? Or break a window or cut a seat belt to save someone after an accident? Or you might need to tow a stuck vehicle, flag down help, or use basic first aid?
What's in your auto emergency kit?
We tested the kit (shown above) by taking everything out of it and trying out some of the items. We compared the jumper cables with an expensive set we have in our trunk. They are every bit as robust.
The flashlight! You will love this flashlight. We have been looking for one just like it and couldn't find one. It's the type you squeeze the handle (pumping action) and it charges the small battery and keeps the flashlight lit. It came fully charged.
The multi-tool is really a pocket knife with every conceivable tool neatly folded inside (even flint for starting a fire!). And the crescent wrench is not a cheap tool either.
The first aid kit is small but adequate with a good variety of supplies. You may want to keep a larger first aid kit in your car when traveling.
I consider the reflective safety vest along with the reflective warning triangle an absolute necessity when stopping or stuck on a roadside to change a tire or help someone out.
There are so many items that we would have to actually have a crisis to be able to test them all. Everything works and seems to be very high quality and extremely useful.