How to be prepared for a roadside emergency


Do you keep an emergency kit in your car in case of roadside trouble? Lauren Fix, The Car Doctor, shows what tools and practical items every driver should have before hitting the road.

How to be prepared for a roadside emergency
  • The first item you will need is a container or a bag to carry roadside emergency supplies. You can also buy a pre-assembled roadside emergency kit.
  • To jump start a dead car battery, you will need jumper cables or a jump start charger unit.
  • Instead of a flare, Lauren Fix recommends a battery operated LED light source.  Unlike a flare, it is water resistant and attaches directly to your vehicle.
  • In the event of a flat tire, it is good to have a tire inflator/sealant, such as Fix a Flat™.  If you have a truck or SUV, make sure to have two cans of tire inflator, as SUV tires are larger than car tires.
  • Pack a pair of gloves to protect your hands when pumping gas, adding washer fluid or checking tire pressure, etc.
  • You will need a digital tire pressure gauge to check your tire pressure.
  • Make sure to pack a first aid kit with bandages, antiseptic and wound ointment.
  • For roadside emergencies that occur at night, you will need a flashlight.  Make sure to pack an extra set of batteries for the flashlight.
  • Your car never breaks down when it's sunny and beautiful outside, right?  Make sure to pack a rain poncho to stay dry in the rain.
  • Pack one blanket, two hand warmers, and two feet warmers for every person who rides in the car. 
  • Supplies such as a bungie cord, rip ties, and a small tool kit can come in very handy.
  • Pack an extra set of windshield wiper blades so you can always see where you are going.
  • If you live or are traveling in a cold climate, make sure to carry an ice scraper and de-icing washer fluid.
  • In the event that you have to wait a while for a roadside emergency crew to come to your rescue, it's very smart to have protein bars or raisins and nuts on hand.

I'm Lauren Fix, the Car Coach, for Are you prepared for a roadside emergency? Most people don't carry the right stuff. I'm here to show you what you need.

The first item you need is a container or a bag to carry your emergency kit. Or you can buy a pre-made kit. Now one of the most important things you're going to need is a set of jumper cables. Great and important thing to have in case you have a dead battery. Or you can buy a self-enclosed battery jump system as well.

Now instead of a flare, I recommend a LED light source. This is battery operated, it's water-resistant, and it's certainly smarter than a flare.  It just sticks right to the car.

Also most people don't know how to change a flat tire, and that's okay, but a tire inflation product like Fix a Flat™ or one of the many brands that are out there is a really smart choice.  However, if you own a SUV or a pickup truck, you'll need two of these because those tires are a little bit larger than those on a car. Two cans would be perfect for an SUV or a truck.

You want to make sure you have a set of gloves. This is for pumping gas, adding washer fluid or even checking tire pressure, and that means you'll also need a tire pressure gauge. Really important to have in your emergency kit in case you have a flat tire and you need to check the tire pressure. 

You'll also want to carry a first aid kit. It makes a lot of sense to have bandages, all those basic items. You never know if you're going to need it.

Also a flashlight, really important, but even more important is an extra set of batteries. If you're stuck out at night, you're going to need them. So you want to make sure you carry both with you.

And a rain poncho. It always happens, there's an emergency when it's raining. It's rarely when it's sunny and beautiful out; so you want to be prepared. 

Now let's say you have an accident, and maybe your headlight is hanging. If something is hanging off your vehicle, tie wraps are a great solution for loose items. Always good to have them around anyhow. And a blanket. I always recommend carrying a blanket for each person that rides in the car on a normal basis because if you've got to crawl underneath the car there's nothing like having a blanket to keep your clothes clean. And to complete our basic kit I recommend a bungee cord and some simple tools. You never know what you're going to need. 

Now if you drive in the cooler climates, you're going to need a few extra things, and one of the those is wiper blades. The winter wiper blade is a little different than a regular blade. It has a jacket on it just like you would have and it keeps the wiper blade on the glass so it cleans off the snow and the ice so you can see where you're going. Of course you'll need a snow brush and an ice scraper. You want a real aggressive one so you can see where you're going. Speaking of seeing where you're going, I recommend de-icing washer fluid. It stops refreeze which is the hazing that happens when you squirt that blue washer fluid on your windshield and you can't see where you're going; this is a much better choice. And hand warmers. I recommend two hand warmers and two foot warmers for each person that rides in the car. In case there's an emergency you definitely want to be prepared. And if you're waiting for roadside service carry some protein bars or raisins and nuts on hand, whatever you like because if you're waiting you want to make sure you have something to eat.

Now you have everything you need for any weather in a roadside emergency. I'm Lauren Fix, the Car Coach, for 

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  • Lauren Fix

    Lauren Fix The Car Coach, Automotive Expert Lauren Fix, the Car Coach® is America's Award winning automotive expert and the leading female automotive expert in the industry. She is ASE certified, a SAE member and has worked in the automotive industry all her life. more about this expert »

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