An "auto emergency kit" is a group of supplies placed in a car to help if a situation occurred where you need to stay in (or near) your car and wait for help.
Special Precautions for Travel
When we speak of traveling, we're often referring to a long-distance trip. However, many of us travel every day to and from work, school, or other nearby destinations. You never know when your vehicle might break down, auto accidents may keep you in a car for hours, weather might impede travel, or public transportation (e.g. planes, trains, or buses) might be delayed or inoperable. The need for very basic items such as water, food, warmth, light, first aid, and communication may become very important to you. Whatever type of traveling you do, it is wise to have emergency supplies in varying degrees with you.
Traveling by Personal Vehicle
Most of us spend a lot of time in a personal vehicle. How you prepare for traveling in a personal vehicle will depend mainly on the:
Condition of the vehicle
Size and type of the vehicle
Number of passengers
Distance you normally (or are planning to) travel
Types of weather or other conditions you might encounter
Before traveling, assess the condition of the vehicle. A poorly-maintained vehicle is more likely to break down than one that is well-maintained. Regardless of how well-maintained the vehicle is, parts will wear out and eventually need replacing. Before driving long distances, it's wise to give your car a thorough diagnostic check - preferably by a trusted professional mechanic. Also make sure you have a spare tire, jack, tire iron, jumper cables, and some basic hand tools.
The size and type of vehicle will affect the amount of emergency supplies you can keep in the cabin or trunk. Carry as many emergency supplies as you can reasonably fit. Whether you are traveling your normal route to work or on a long vacation, think through the possible emergency scenarios that could happen and plan accordingly. When traveling with a group, especially long distances, consider carrying enough emergency supplies for each person if possible.
Final Thoughts on an Auto Emergency Kit
I will never forget a time when I was traveling back from a visit with my parents near Christmas time. Though a few storms had left snow in the mountains, the weather was fine when I left and the forecast was that no more snow would be coming until after I was planning to return.
When I left in my small four wheel drive truck I felt safe even though the weather was overcast. About 30 miles into my journey a major snowstorm hit. I could barely see 30 feet in front of me the snow was coming down so fast. I followed closely in the tracks of a larger four-wheel-drive truck, because I struggled seeing where the side of the road began.
At one point I noticed a faint light off to the left side of the road. I immediately slowed down and pulled off to the right a little so if someone were following our tracks they would hopefully continue straight. I put my coat on and walked across the road to see what the light was. To my astonishment it was a small compact car with a young couple and a new baby! They had slid off the road and the vehicle was incapable of returning to the main road. They had no food for themselves or their child and no adequate clothing for the situation. Another large four wheel drive truck stopped and the driver came down to help us. His vehicle was closer and had more room for the young family, so the young family left their car and got in with my new friend. I then followed him (a few feet behind his bumper, because of the poor visibility) to the next town 60 miles away. It took nearly 4 hours for us to arrive safely.
When I look back on this experience I think of what Richard Gist, a psychologist for the Kansas City Fire Department once said: "Do not put off the improbable for the unthinkable . . . if there is a one in a million chance of something happening to you then it is happening to 300 people in this country right now."
Simple preparations can literally be "worth their weight in gold" and make all the difference in the world.
Here is a list items that come in the Roadwise Emergency Car Kit to give you an idea of what you could put in an auto kit:
Food & Water Items Qty.
3600-Calorie Food Bar 1
Hard Candy 3
Aqua Blox 6
Warmth Items Qty.
Hand & Body Warmer 3
Emergency Poncho 1
Emergency Sleeping Bag 1
Cooking Items Qty.
Strike-Anywhere Matches 1
Light and Communication Items Qty.
5-in-1 Survival Whistle 1
LED Headlamp & Batteries 1
First Aid & Sanitation Items Qty.
Toilet Paper 1
20 First-Aid Items 1
Storage Items & Tools Qty.
Medium Backpack 1
Multi-Function Tool 1
Emergency Tape 1
Depending on stock, some items in kits may require substitutions.
All Substitutions will be of equal or greater value.