In the United States most people spend their day away from home at work, school, or other activities. Usually this includes traveling in a vehicle of some sort every day. Many are not prepared for unexpected emergencies that can happen while in their vehicle. This becomes even more important while traveling through rural areas, late at night, or during extreme weather. Even in a large city, a disabled vehicle can leave you stranded with your safety at risk if you are not prepared during a civil unrest event.
The items below are essential for any handy man to keep in their vehicle in order to be prepared for unexpected emergencies.
First Aid Kit
While a first aid kit may not immediately come to mind for a tool kit, it is one of the most important tools to have in your vehicle. Make sure your first aid kit includes trauma treatment items and not just band aids and ibuprofen. These should be items like a tourniquet and quick clot. Just as important, know how to use them. Be prepared and take a first aid class that covers severe bleeding, CPR, and the Heimlich maneuver.
Tire Repair Kit
Almost all vehicles have some sort of spare tire and a jack. While this will take care of most flat tires, it will not be very helpful if your spare is flat or you have issues with two tires. A tire repair kit that includes plugs, a rasp, and a plug insert tool can be used to quickly plug a punctured tire. I have plugged a tire while it is still on the vehicle before and left enough air in the tire to drive it afterwards. Also keep a bottle of fix-a-flat in your car. Not only can it plug small leaks, but it contains compressed air that can inflate a tire a small degree. This could allow you to drive out of a remote area or to a safe area to change your tire.
Jump Start Power Pack
A car that won’t start is a big aggravation and could threaten your safety if you are in a remote area during bad weather. Most of the time it is just the car’s battery that is either dead or has a low charge. Modern jump-start power packs are small, lightweight, and can jump-start a car multiple times. Many have a built-in flashlight and USB ports that you can use to charge your phone. They can hold a charge for months, so there is really no reason not to have one.
Many older vehicles will start to have electrical issues as wires begin to corrode and weaken. A small electrical kit can get you out of a bind should your headlights or wipers fail unexpectedly. The kit should include spare fuses, electrical tape, length of wire, wire strippers, and small screwdrivers. Make sure you have at least 2-3 spare fuses of each size. Sometimes when a fuse blows it can be replaced with a new one to resolve the issue temporarily. This will give you time to get home or to a safer location. If the fuse continues to fail it indicates a growing issue that needs attention. In desperate situations you can replace the fuse with the next larger amp rating, just keep in mind you may be risking further damage to the affected component.
Instead of carrying a full toolbox, a multitool is a more practical alternative. Choose one such as the Leatherman Charge that includes multiple screwdriver bits that can be exchanged. Separate screwdriver bit packs are available that include Torx and hex bits. Most vehicles have screws that are something other than the standard screwdriver type.
While a thin mylar blanket can keep you warm in an emergency, a proper survival blanket such as the Arcturus heavy duty blanket has many more uses in an emergency. If you need to get under your car, you can lay it on the ground to protect you from cold or rough ground. You can also use it for traction if you are stuck in the snow. If you have a window break, you can use it to cover it. You could even use it as a shelter if you are forced to leave your vehicle in an emergency.
These items are just the basics of what most people should keep in their vehicle. Depending on how much you drive, the season, and where you travel each day there are likely other items that should also be included. Sit down and think about the possible emergencies you may face and develop your own kit. This exercise will reduce the anxiety of an emergency when it does happen, allowing you to think clearer and not panic.
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