Fall is upon us and winter isn’t far behind. As many of us begin making travel plans for the holidays we need to consider an emergency kit for our vehicle. How large or small the kit is will be up to you as an individual. The only real downsides to a large kit is the amount of space in your vehicle you sacrifice and the cost to set up and maintain. Look at your lifestyle and decide if a small kit in the trunk is enough or if you have the room and budget to plan for the zombie apocalypse. Let’s take a look at some starting points for your vehicle survival kit.
Any kit needs to be versatile enough to be beneficial in different environments. Think about what would help on a 4 lane interstate versus a deserted dirt road. Our environment will also determine the amount of time that we must sustain on our own. In the modern era with cellular phones, this time has dramatically decreased in most locations. Keeping a battery charger with you survival kit can extend the life of your phone. The only consideration for this is you must keep it charged as it will lose its charge over time in your survival kit.
One of the greatest dangers to a stranded motorist is other vehicles that are still moving on the roadway. Marking your vehicle as disabled is a key step to ensuring your safety. Beyond your hazard markers, consider road flares and orange reflective triangles. These will help ensure other motorists see your vehicle and you.
Hypothermia can set on quickly once a vehicle loses power and can no longer supply heat. Even if you are not planning to be out in the elements bring a coat with you in winter just in case you find yourself exposed to the elements longer than you planned. Keep a set of smaller items such as a warm hat and gloves in your vehicle kit. A foil thermal blanket is a compact option that can help if there are more than one of you when you get stranded. Carrying a lighter and a small bag of dryer lint is a great way to get a fire going quickly. Don’t forget that road flare we mentioned earlier, it can get a fire going to keep you warm in a hurry.
Having a basic first aid kit is a must. Ensure that any pre-packaged kit has items that will be useful in a situation with severe injuries. This is not the kit we are turning to for a band-aid. Large bandages that will be useful for stopping major bleeding are a great item to have on hand. Taking a first aid class before you find yourself in a dangerous situation can pay off huge when things go wrong.
Other areas you may consider that go a bit farther are water purification and a shelf-stable food source. These would only be necessary for more extreme and longer-duration situations. For most of us, a candy bar and a bottle of water would go a long way. Keep in mind the water will freeze if it’s below 32 where you park your car. Lastly, it’s hard to go wrong with a knife or a multi-tool. They can be used for just about anything.
Whatever items you carry make sure you practice with them. The first time you strike a road flare should not be on the side of the interstate with cars flying by at 80 mph. It’s also tough to build your first fire when the temperature is dropping and you are starting to shake. Stay safe and plan ahead.
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