With the exception of the home and workplace, more time is spent in automobiles than perhaps anywhere else. Unfortunately, traveling in a car can be fraught with problems. Besides the obvious fact that cars break down from time to time, auto accidents are also a real concern. Becoming stuck in ice and snow is a potential problem in winter, and becoming lost is a possibility while driving in a new area. With all of this in mind, it's important to be prepared for anything. Here are the top five tools to have in the trunk at all times.
Emergency flares are an important part of any emergency kit. These small, tube-like flares are easy to light and they burn with a very bright light that is ideal for increasing visibility. In case of an accident or breakdown, flares should be placed along the road a short distance from the car to alert oncoming motorists and avoid additional accidents. They can also be used as a signaling device if necessary due to their high visibility.
2. Jumper Cables
Nothing is worse than turning over the ignition key and hearing nothing in response. Whether it's caused by a malfunctioning alternator, a faulty battery or simply forgetting to shut the car lights off, a dead battery can quickly become a major headache. Fortunately, jumper cables are an easy-to-use solution that can have a car up and running in no time with the assistance of another motorist.
Attach one end of the red cable to the positive terminal of the dead battery. Do the same to the charged battery. Attach the black cable to the negative terminal of the charged battery, and finally attach the other end of the black cable to any exposed piece of metal from the dead battery's engine to create a ground. The car with the dead battery should start and run as it normally would. Finally, remove the cables in the reverse order.
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Injuries can happen anywhere, and it's important to have the supplies necessary to deal with them. Whether it's a small cut or a minor injury resulting from an auto accident, a well-stocked first aid kit is an essential item. A basic kit should contain gauze pads, antiseptic ointment, band aids, burn treatment, latex gloves, adhesive tape and scissors. It's also important to learn how to properly use each of these items to properly treat various injuries.
While it's possible to survive a week or more without food, survival can drop to a couple of days without water. It's possible to become stuck in an area with no access to water, so it's important to have an adequate supply for at least a few days stored somewhere in the car. While several gallons is ideal, it's important to have at least one gallon at all times. In addition, water can be a quick and effective solution for an overheating engine if engine coolant isn't available.
5. Blankets and Clothing
While this may not be an issue during the summer, it's crucial to carry warm blankets and clothing during the winter while driving in areas prone to cold weather. Many of the deaths associated with blizzards and other severe winter weather are related to motorists becoming trapped in their automobiles and succumbing to the cold. Warm blankets and clothing make it possible to survive for many days in a stranded car if necessary.
Byline: Henry Nettleton is a big proponent of safe driving, which is why he recommends that you take a look at truck driving schools if you ever plan to drive a large vehicle.