We often don’t think about roadside emergencies until they happen. When one does happen, we’re lucky if we’ve got the right things in our vehicle to handle the emergency—whether it’s a flat fire, an empty tank of gas, or a serious engine problem.
Many websites such as DMV.org or Pep Boys offer thorough lists of emergency roadside kit items that you may need. We’re going to assume that—like most drivers—you probably have a few basic items in your vehicle such as jumper cables, first aid kits, a spare tire with tools to help put it on, and of course your cell phone that allows you to call tow trucks, AAA, or another form of roadside assistance.
Because we don’t just want to cover the obvious or share a giant list that other websites already put together, we wanted instead to share a few overlooked emergency roadside preparation tips that will help you even if you already have the basics in your car.
For a night breakdown, carry a flashlight and flares.
We often have all of the equipment we need for a roadside emergency—in the day time. At night, imagine yourself on the side of a darkened highway with no lights around. Cars are whizzing by at 55-75 miles per hour. They can’t often see you until they’re only a few hundred feet away. Keep a flashlight with fresh batteries so that you can see what you’re doing at night. And set up flares (or at least something reflective) so that drivers can see you from a distance in the dark.
For winter or an overnight breakdown, keep a blanket, bottled water, and some nonperishable food.
Roadside emergencies often entail small repairs and jumping our car, but we often don’t think about situations during which we might be trapped in our vehicle or isolated somewhere overnight. Occasionally, freak weather has stranded Georgians in vehicles during cold weather without access to food or water for 10-20 hours. If rescue vehicles can’t get to you in time, you risk hypothermia or dehydration. Similarly, if you’re stranded overnight in some out of the way rural, mountainous, or unpopulated area, having a blanket to keep you warm will go a long way toward making you as comfortable as possible until help arrives.
Carry a tire pressure gauge and a tire inflator.
Most vehicles will contain a spare tire along with tools to put it on, and many people will just call AAA or a tow truck to deal with a flat fire. Low tire pressure is a more overlooked issue that people often ignore or find themselves unequipped to handle. A low tire isn’t an immediate threat but it can lead to dangerous consequences such as an unexpected tire blowout if you let it go. Tire pressure gauges and air provided by convenience stores can often be very unreliable, so consider carrying your own inflator and gauge. If possible, get a slightly more expensive digital tire pressure gauge—it will be more accurate and reliable. And if a low pressure light won’t go off or keeps coming back on no matter how many times you inflate your tires, go to a service shop. You may have a slow leak that needs patching.
If you follow the three tips above in addition to stocking up on items for your emergency kit, you will prepare yourself for the biggest emergencies. Like most of us, it’s often okay to rely on AAA and cell phones without having to take any emergency actions ourselves. But it’s always good to be prepared for worst-case situations in which help may not arrive for a long time or at all.
If you’ve had a roadside emergency or accident that involved personal injury, give us a call today for a free consultation.