What to Include in Your Car Emergency Survival Kit
The NZ Civil Defense site offers some thoughts on preparing your vehicle for unexpected emergencies which includes what to include in your Car Emergency Preparedness Kit:
“Plan ahead for what you will do if you are in your car when a disaster strikes. In some emergencies you may be stranded in your vehicle for some time. A flood, snow storm or major traffic accident could make it impossible to proceed.
Consider having essential emergency survival items in your car. If you are driving in extreme winter conditions, add windshield scrapers, brush, shovel, tire chains and warm clothing to your emergency kit.
Store a pair of walking shoes, waterproof jacket, essential medicines, snack food, water and a torch in your car.
When planning travel, keep up to date with weather and roading information.”
Some good points in there but we think there are quite a number of other survival gear and emergency items you should consider having in your car, depending on where you travel. We haven’t tried to put these in order of importance as where you travel will have a bearing on what you include. If you might end up in snow or if offroading for instance you’ll have different needs to those who live in the north of New Zealand or who are city based.
Road Atlas/Printed Maps
Just about everyone has a smart phone with Google Maps or Sat Nav in their car these days. But what about when you’re out of cell coverage or if the mobile network was down? Make sure you’ve still got an up to date Road Atlas or fold out map in the car just in case.
Headlamp / Dynamo Torch
Ever tried to change a flat tyre at night in the rain while trying to prop up a torch to shine at the right angle? No? Well if you’ve got a headlamp in the car you won’t have to either! A dynamo torch is a good idea too just in case you forget to check the batteries. These often come with an emergency radio and cell phone charger too like this one.
Water Purification Straw
As the Civil Defense site says above you should have some water stored in your car. Another extra option is an excellent Water Purification Straw. With one of these in your car boot you’ll always have a safe supply of water from a river, stream, lake or farm trough.
Goes without saying what this is for.
Siphon / Hose
If you ever run out of fuel and a good samaritan stops and offers help, you’ll need one of these to take them up on their kind offer.
Modern cars may seem like they don’t use much oil these days. But it still pays to keep a little spare oil on hand. Engines don’t run well with no oil! And they’re expensive to replace.
These are handy to lend a hand with but also handy if you get a flat battery yourself as a friendly fellow driver is often easy to find but not always one with jumper cables themselves.
Tow Rope / Straps
A bit like jumper cables and siphon hoses, could be useful to help others or you may need them to get help from others with a tow of your own vehicle.
Seatbelt Cutter and Window Breaker
These clever little tools can be kept on your key ring or in each car glove box. If you were ever unlucky enough to be stuck in a car after a crash, these cut through the seat belt and can also safely break a window. Have saved many lives especially in crashes into rivers.
Again could help someone else but just as likely could be needed to stop some sparks in your own car. Last year we saw a helpless driver on the other side of the motorway phoning for help with his car engulfed in flames. It does happen.
Location dependent of course.
First Aid Kit
This should be near the top of the list. Something compact but that covers all the bases is ideal.
Mylar Space Blanket
These take up very little space but can give a lot of warmth if you’re ever forced to spend the night in your vehicle. Plus they’re excellent in first aid situations to keep warm those suffering from shock.
If you’ve ever travelled with kids you know this is handy to keep on hand at all times. Beats trying to find some bushmans friend on the road side!
Basic Tool Kit
This should include locking pliers, an adjustable wrench, screwdrivers, pliers with a wire cutter, a ratchet and sockets, allen/hex keys. Along with radiator coolant/water for the radiator. A can of CRC / WD40 and some duct tape is handy too.
This really doesn’t need any comment. But make sure you check it is correctly inflated regularly. A good idea is to do it every time you get a warrant of fitness. And of course a jack and tyre iron.
Obviously all these car emergency kit items can start to take up some room.
So it’s a good idea to consider where your travels take you.
Then perform an assessment of the likelihood of you needing each of them, combined with how high the risk is if you don’t have any of these items. This should help prioritise what to include for yourself.
Everyone’s different so what you’ll need will be different too. But this should be a good starting point.
Any other recommendations for car emergency kits and vehicle survival gear? Leave a comment with your ideas below.