Stuck on the side of the road due to a flat tire or dead battery? Keep warm and safe while you wait for help with these tips.
Getting stuck on the side of the road is something that happens to nearly everyone at some point in their life. Whether your car battery died and you need to buy a new one, your tire went flat when you hit a big bump, or your alternator stopped working – something goes awry and you're left cold and alone, waiting for someone to come along and help get you to safety.
Unfortunately, if you're travelling down a rural road in a secluded little town it could take a long time for someone to come along – so what do you do while you wait and how do you stay safe? Many people aren't prepared for these types of situations, which is why here at Auto Credit Express we have compiled a list of 25 things that you should always have in your car – no matter what.
Never Leave Home without These Twenty-Five Items
As soon as you're done reading this blog post you should go get a box, it doesn't have to be a big one because these items are pretty small. Pack it up and put it in your trunk or in the back seat of your car. Having these items can be the difference between keeping warm and safe in your vehicle or being stranded alone, cold and hungry with no way of getting help.
- Owner's Manual. Every new car comes with this already in your glove compartment, but if you have an older used vehicle it may not be there anymore. Find this and put it back in its home. This provides a ton of useful information that you may need to get back on your merry way.
- Old cellphone with a charged battery. If you have an old cellphone that you are no longer using lying around your house charge the battery completely and turn it back off. Keep this in your glove compartment or center console and if there is ever an emergency it can be used to call 911 – even if there is no wireless subscription on the phone.
- Blankets. Regardless of whether you're stranded in spring, summer, fall or winter — blankets can come in handy! If you have to wait for a tow truck, your friend or anyone else you will want to stay warm at night or in cold weather. These can also come in handy if you go to a sporting event or picnic!
- Battery-powered/weather radio. If you're stuck in a blizzard, hail storm, tornado or any other terrible weather, you can use this radio to find out basic information about what to do and where you should hide for protection. Always keep extra batteries with you just in case, too.
- Bottled water. The human body cannot survive without water, and while there is a slim chance that you will be stranded for more than a few hours, it's always good to keep water in your vehicle for those off-chances.
- High energy snacks or MREs. Again, your body cannot survive without food so keeping a few high energy snacks in your car will come in handy. You can also travel with Meals Ready to Eat (MREs); these are pouches that just need a little water added to them, and they are ready to go.
- Paper maps. Yes, I mean old-school paper maps, not your GPS. If you're in a woodsy area your GPS may not get a signal to help you locate the correct direction you should be going in – but with a paper map of the state that you're in, it will. If you travel out of state frequently you may want to carry an atlas.
- Jumper cables. These are something most people already have in their cars, but if you don't – get them! If you have a dead battery and a good Samaritan stops to help you, it won't do much good if neither of you have any jumper cables.
- Fix-a-flat. This product will help stop a rapid leak in your tire, but it's not a permanent fix. It will only hold for a certain amount of miles, so drive to the nearest tire repair shop, and get it fixed the right way.
- Tire pressure gauge. You may not be able to use this in emergencies but it is essential to keep your tires properly inflated at all times.
- Seat belt cutter and window breaker. These tools are very small yet extremely helpful in dire situations. Always keep these in your glove compartment, or better yet, center console so it is easily accessible.
- Road flares/reflectors. If you're stuck at night, and you're afraid that you may not be seen by other drivers while you're fixing your tires, you can set these up around the perimeter of your car. These will allow other drivers to see you or could help someone find you if you're stranded for other reasons.
- Flashlight. This helps you if you need to change a tire, fix a light bulb, jump your car or maybe just for reading light while you wait.
- WD-40. If you're trying to change your tire and the bolts won't come loose, the WD-40 will help loosen them for you.
- Small fire extinguisher. Many times small accidents can result in the engine or some other part of the car catching on fire. Having a small fire extinguisher handy can help reduce the amount of damage done and even save lives.
- Cardboard or carpet remnant. If you happen to be stuck in the mud, snow or ice, having this will help you get out. You can wedge it under your tire, and give the car some gas, and it will help you gain traction to get out of whatever mess you're in.
- A change of clothes. You will be thanking your lucky stars that you have these when it comes to changing your tire in the snow or rain. You will get wet, and sitting in those clothes afterward will be torture.
- Towels. These have a multitude of uses: keeping warm at night, drying yourself off after being rained on or putting them under your tire to gain traction when stuck (like the cardboard or carpet).
- Duct tape. Sounds strange, I know, but having duct tape can help you reattach your muffler – temporarily of course – if it happens to fall off, keep the hood of your car shut after a fender bender, or block the wind from coming in if your window will only roll up half way.
- Spare cash/change. Relying on the money in your wallet may not be helpful in some situations. You may need some extra emergency cash to help out in those extreme cases, or if you usually only carry plastic and you need to tip the tow truck driver.
- Road salt. If you get stuck on ice and you don't happen to carry cardboard, carpet or towels (shame on you), you can use road salt to get unstuck. Simply pour it on the ice by your tires, climb back into your vehicle under the blankets for about an hour, and the ice should be somewhat melted – enough for you to pull away.
- Hat, scarf, gloves and socks. These can help prevent frost bite if you happen to get stranded in the winter.
- Shovel. This isn't necessarily a small thing to store, but can be a life saver in the winter. Have you ever parked your car, ran into a store, and came out and you were blocked in by a big snow drift? Having a shovel will help you get out!
- Ice scraper. Breaking down on the side of the road in the middle of winter means you could be waiting hours. In those lonely hours the temperature could drop and snow could start falling, meaning that it's going to freeze on your windshield. Not having this in your car can mean waiting even longer for the ice to melt before you can take off.
- Spare tire, tire iron and jack. You need these for obvious reasons – keep in mind that most new cars do not come equipped with a spare. Having these items in your car may seem like there will be no extra room for anything – even passengers – but you'd be surprised at how little space they actually take up. If you live in a rural area or your car is not the most dependable thing on the road, these items could become your best travel partners. They can help you tackle just about any road-side situation head on, and hopefully without calling a tow truck and spending a lot of money!
As We See It
These essential items will only help you out if you have a car to store them in, so why not apply for a new car loan today? Even if you have bad credit, here at Auto Credit Express we can match you with a dealership near your house that can get you into a vehicle today. Some of the vehicles sold on our dealers' lots are brand new which means they come with a full warranty, top of the line safety equipment and all the technology you want; some of them are cheaper, gently used cars that still come with an extended warranty and low miles.
Whichever way you decided to go, whether leasing a new car with bad credit or financing a used car, we can help you. Get started today by filling out our online car loan application and you could drive away in your new-to-you car tomorrow!