Our vehicles have become an essential tool used nearly every day. It’s how we get from place to place, a way to see the world, how we obtain important things such as food, and how we get to and from work. While we would like to believe we are safe in our vehicles, the simple reality is that someday, we may find ourselves with vehicle issues and stuck on the side of the road.
Reasons You May Be Stranded
To keep yourself safe in an emergency, it’s important to think about all the risks and possibilities. We don’t choose when and where we will be stranded, so we can only prepare for a wide range of possibilities and risks that could happen.
Your vehicle is a complex machine with multiple computers controlling the operations. As you hit the pedal, you’re controlling thousands of tiny explosions every second, all the time trusting your tires, suspension components, and a variety of bolts to keep the vehicle traveling down the road.
This risk and issues grow as a vehicle becomes worn out over time. High mileage vehicles cause components to become tires and brittle, while rust and damage that remains overlooked may cause excess wear and potential issues.
We put a lot of trust in our vehicle, but one failure in this equation could leave us on the side of the road.
While you would like to think you’ll just stay home the next time a big storm rolls through, the reality is that might not become an option.
Some days you may find yourself leaving work as a storm worsens; others, you may realize you’re a bit low on food and hadn’t checked as the warning signs of bad weather approached.
One way or another, you have found yourself on the road in less than ideal conditions, and the worst has happened. Even as safe as you were trying to be, your vehicle pulled off the road, or you were required to stop.
Some days, you just find yourself in need or in a bad situation, and being prepared can help. Many people have gone to a sports or holiday event to find themselves in a car for hours without food, water, or a way to stay warm. Having items on hand can reduce stress and ease the situation.
Where Do I Have Room?
Every vehicle on the road has some sort of storage compartment, and you may think you just don’t have the room to store an emergency kit.
It’s important to have an understanding of your personal vehicle. Every vehicle is different, and by understanding your vehicle, you create a safer environment for you and your passengers. Knowing where the needed tools are to change a flat tire or place emergency markers can be life-saving.
Tucked Away In Your Trunk
What do you use your trunk space for?
For many drivers, a trunk is where they put the groceries as they leave the store. For others, it’s the storage for the odd and end items like sports equipment, items for work, or other odds and ends.
The secret to being prepared is staying organized. Many people have found success in staying organized with duffle bags and backpacks. These bags can be tucked into the corners or along the sides of your trunk, keeping them out of the way and ready to grab if the time comes.
Under A Seat
Many vehicles like trucks and SUVs are equipped with lift-up seats and storage compartments tucked underneath. These areas are often smaller, making small storage bags a must.
What Do You Need
When considering what you should pack, you need to consider the possibilities for your area. If you live in a hot climate, you probably don’t need items for cold weather or snow.
Being prepared is about what your body needs. Your favorite energy drink or fruit snacks may not be the best option for an emergency situation and may actually do your body harm in severe cases.
As seasons change, one location could be 100+ degrees in the summer and below freezing in the winter. The option to remove a summer bag and toss in a winter bag as the seasons change is the real advantage of organization.
Water remains a must-have for your body, from your natural ability to stay cool to your body's general functions. For men, you should drink around 3.7 liters per day, and for women, around 2.7 liters per day. Drink steadily; do not try to preserve water, and do not chug everything you have.
A case of bottled water can be useful, as they can drink the water throughout the normal day-to-day, with plenty to keep on hand for emergencies. Bottled water has a shelf life of around two years, and this use and restock method allows you to constantly rotate your stock to avoid passing this date.
Food becomes important in many long-term situations, but remember it’s not about what you like; it’s about what you need. Protein bars have remained a go-to for emergency situations with their small size, long shelf life.
A change of clothes is a must-have to stay warm. From rainstorms to a blizzard, being wet pulls the warmth away from your body and leaves you chilled. Having a change of dry, warm clothes can take the edge off a bad situation. Sweats have remained a great go-to as they hold in body heat and can be comfortable.
Emergency lights can be the difference between being stranded or being found. Your vehicle's battery can only last so long as it attempts to keep the various components powered up, and in some cases, you may end up in a hard-to-see location. Items like a flashlight or headlights may be confused for other light sources as well.
Orange reflections and lighting is known to represent caution. LED orange safety lights are a great way to get someone's attention and often receive help.
First Aid is the tool we hope we will never need, but it is important to have on hand. Keeping a simple first aid kit with a variety of bandages, simple pain relievers, and anti-infectants on hand could keep your family safe.
Keeping your phone charged when in your vehicle will allow you to let someone know where you are. In many cases, your vehicle will still have battery power, and you could charge your phone.
Consider adding a small battery pack to your emergency kit for added juice. The idea is to allow your phone to last, so avoid playing games or using your phone unless reaching for help.
When battling the cold weather, water and food intake become just as important as in the heat. Many people claim they don’t feel as thirsty in the cold, but your body is using energy to stay warm, causing you to need more food and water.
When possible, stay in your vehicle. Opening the doors will cause a loss of your needed warmth.
Warm clothes such as gloves, beanies, and a thick jacket are a must-have. Even though your goal should be to remain in your vehicle, your vehicle must remain running to produce heat, meaning vehicle issues could leave you cold.
A blanket can become a great tool for yourself and if you have passengers. Emergency blankets, which are a foil-like material designed to hold in your body’s heat, are a compact solution to stay warm, but any blanket is better than no blanket.
This is a great option to wrap around your feet, as your extremities often become cold. Since you will be preparing for yourself, blankets become a go-to for your passengers to stay warmer as well.
Hand warmers are a great, cost-effective solution in any cold weather kit. These warmers keep your feet and hands warm in extreme situations and can be placed in your boots or pockets. Use these with some caution as they can get extremely hot at times.
When caught in a hot climate, you should keep extra water on hand. Your body releases sweat as a method of cooling down, which needs to be replenished with water.
When fighting the heat, you want to stay close to your vehicle, but remaining inside may not be the best option. The car must be running to produce cold air, and the vehicle may quickly heat up due to sitting in the sun. Your focus should be staying out of the sun, in moving air if possible, and remaining calm and relaxed.
Shade is an important aspect of remaining out of the sun. A small tarp, canvas, or another large piece of material with a bit of rope is a great tool. Camp stakes allow you to tie one end to anything and stake the other end to the ground to make a mini tent.
Consider everything when making a shade cover, even the brush or trees along the side of the road. The idea is to get out of the sun.
Cool clothing should be kept in your vehicle, made of thin material. Less clothing isn’t always the answer, as sun exposure can cause a variety of issues. Athletic clothing allows your body to get as much airflow as possible.
Being prepared for an emergency is more than just having what you think you’ll need. It’s about knowing what you need and how to use it. If you have the room, it’s good to be prepared. There’s nothing saying you can’t have a few extra shirts or different types of food, just watch expiration dates and nutrients.
While the necessities are the focus, having what you like is an option. Try different foods and drinks focused on your health and see what you would prefer to eat. You may hate peanut butter, so don’t buy the peanut butter protein bars.
Keep your family in mind. If you have a baby, for instance, add a few extra baby blankets during cold seasons to accommodate their needs as well.
If you feel organizing an emergency kit may be a heavy task, allow the team at Judy to create a simple kit ready to be placed in each of your vehicles for added security.
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