If the incident on Interstate 95 in Virginia, where motorists found themselves stranded on the road for over 24 hours without food, beverages, or blankets, has taught us anything, it's the importance of car safety and preparedness. Severe weather, such as heavy snowstorms leading to hazardous road conditions, can happen at the most unexpected and inconvenient times. Knowing how to deal with such dire conditions while keeping yourself and your loved ones safe should be prioritized. If you take steps to prepare for the worst-case scenario, it's easier to handle these difficult situations when they happen. Check out this list of the top six items you should store in your vehicle to prepare for an emergency.
#1. Always Have a First-Aid Kit Handy
One of the first and most significant items to store in your vehicle is a first-aid kit full of all the items that could come in handy if you're stuck in your car due to a severe storm or other hazardous conditions. A typical kit will include bandages for minor cuts, gauze pads, antibiotic ointment, flint, and more. Having access to these items would make it easier to dress wounds, stop the bleeding, and light fire to let others know that you're there, whether you're stranded on the side of the road or anywhere else.
#2. The More Lights, The Better
No one wants to get stuck in their vehicle when it's late at night, and there are hardly any lights around you. Those pitch-dark nights lower visibility, making it harder for other motorists to spot you on the road. If you want to prevent an accident while making it easier for help to find you and get to you a bit faster, make sure you have more than enough light sources available to use. It's good to have a searchlight for emergency signaling with multiple settings that allow you to adjust the brightness of the light to capture attention from those in and around the area. A portable searchlight with a whistle attached to it lets you make noises while shining the light in hopes of getting someone to see or hear you to help.
While the searchlight is one light source worth storing in your vehicle to increase your visibility when broken down or stuck on the side of the road, other light sources can come in handy as well. It helps to have a stow-away collapsible lantern, floating flashlights, and even hands-free headlamps that allow you to see everything in front of you with ease, even on the darkest of nights.
#3. Choose Some Non-Perishable Foods
Bottled water and non-perishable foods are an absolute must for your car kit. Those stuck on Interstate 95 learned a valuable lesson on this when most went without eating for more than a day! Some of the best non-perishable foods to pack include:
- Protein Bars - Not everyone is a fan of the taste, but these bars contain vitamins, nutrients, and enough protein to keep you feeling fuller for more extended periods.
- Peanut Butter - It's high in calories, high in protein, and can come in handy during an emergency.
- Beef Jerky - Sure, it might not be a cooked meal, but beef jerky will satisfy your craving for food when you've gone hours without food.
- Nuts/Trail Mix - Having an assortment of nuts to eat can also keep you feeling full while you wait for help to arrive. They're good for you and can keep you energized during any ordeal.
Pack your car kit with plenty of these food items, and you won't have to stress over the thought of going hungry if you get stranded anywhere.
#4. Don't Forget the Batteries
Because it helps to have different flashlights and light sources stored in your vehicle for emergencies, don't forget to purchase the batteries that will keep them well-lit for hours on end. Don't skimp on the quality of the batteries you plan to buy and use in your flashlights and other devices because you don't want the batteries to start burning out on you within a few hours. Purchasing premium power batteries made to last long will provide you with the reliability you want and need to have.
#5. Thick Blankets Can Come in Handy
While some kits come with blankets and ponchos to keep you warm and comfortable when stranded in your vehicle, it's never a bad idea to stock up on thick blankets, folding them and storing them in an airtight quilt storage bag to avoid taking up too much of your trunk space. Having the extra blankets could come in handy when you're traveling in the vehicle with friends and family and want to have a way to keep everyone as warm as possible while stranded. If you're stuck in the car for hours on end, you might run out of gas, meaning you'd no longer have access to heat in your car. However, it's not hard to find heavy blankets made from durable, warm materials available at some leading department stores. Grab what you can find and keep them in the car because you never know when you might need them.
#6. Consider Investing in a Survival Kit
Even if you've already purchased a first-aid kit, it's a good idea to buy a survival kit consisting of a waterproof dry bag full of essentials, such as a flashlight, blanket, tools, and enough food and water to last up to three days. The compact survival kit can conveniently fit in the trunk of your vehicle or anywhere else that provides you with quick and easy access to it when you need it. Instead of packing different non-perishable items in your car, you can get this kit, store it away, and use it when you need it.
Don't get stranded in a vehicle without a way to stay warm, hydrated, and comfortable. Prepare for any potential emergency while you're in your vehicle, whether it's caused by severe weather or something else, by packing your vehicle with these six essentials to keep you comfortable while waiting for help to arrive.