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Stay Safe Year-Round By Keeping Important Items In Your Vehicle

Publish Date: August 1, 2022

The best drivers are prepared for anything, no matter what conditions they’re driving in. Be ready for any emergency by keeping these essential items in your vehicle – you never know what you’ll need when you’re on the road!

Stay Prepared With These Critical Items:

  • Emergency Flares: You never know when you might get stuck on a road at night, and handheld flares can help warn other drivers that you’re stopped. They work in all reduced visibility conditions, including rain, snow, or fog.

  • Triangle Reflectors: Regardless of whether it’s day or night, fluorescent orange triangle reflectors help make you visible to other drivers. Utilized along with emergency flares, they provide maximum awareness to other drivers that you are stopped and help keep you and them safe from a potentially dangerous accident.

  • Jumper Cables: If your battery dies, the last thing you want to worry about is whether or not a helpful motorist has jumper cables to help get you back on the road. Be sure to pack your own set of jumper cables in your trunk or invest in a jump starter box/booster pack, which can help jump-start your car on its own.

  • First Aid Kit: It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but even a basic first aid kit can come in handy for minor injuries. Whether you cut your finger on a map or bump your head while changing a flat tire, you’ll be glad you packed the right supplies to handle any scrapes or scratches you might encounter.

  • Tire Changing Kit: You never know when you’ll get a flat on the road, and you’ll want to keep a spare tire and tire-changing tools on hand. For extra protection, you may also want a tire sealant like Fix-A-Flat or Slime to quickly patch a tire.

  • Escape Tool: It might sound like an unlikely scenario, but if you become trapped in your vehicle, you need the right tool to help you escape quickly. Two-in-one escape tools, which include a seatbelt cutter and window breaker, should be stored in a nearby glove compartment or console for easy access.

  • Tool Kit: It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but a small tool kit can be extremely useful for small repairs like replacing a tire, changing a fuse, or other small jobs under the hood. You never know when you might need a small screwdriver for a quick repair!

  • Flashlight or Headlamp: Accidents or breakdowns can happen at any time of day, but at night, they’re even more dangerous. Be sure you have the light you need in the event of a breakdown, and remember to pack extra batteries for extended use!

  • Blanket: No matter what season it is, having an extra blanket in your trunk can come in handy for several reasons. They’ll protect your seats from getting dirty, in addition to keeping you warm in the event of a winter breakdown. You might also want to invest in a mylar emergency blanket, just in case of an emergency!

  • Cell Phone Charger: In an emergency situation, a dead phone battery is the last thing you want to worry about. Keep an extra cell phone charger in your car at all times – you never know when an extra charge on your phone could be a life saver! For extra safety, you might want to invest in a solar-powered cell phone charger, which doesn’t rely on your car’s battery to charge your phone.

  • Owner’s Manual: It’s something that we often forget about, but having your owner’s manual handy can provide helpful information quickly, allowing you to troubleshoot common car troubles. You may need to find out what your ideal tire pressure is, what a flashing light on your dashboard means or how to properly jump your car if your battery dies, and your owner’s manual will provide useful info specific to your vehicle!

  • Printed Maps: It might seem outdated, but keeping a printed map in your car can help save the day. Although many people use map apps on their smartphone, in the event that you’re in an unfamiliar area or do not have cell service, having that map in your car can help you find your way!

  • Pen and Notebook: It never hurts to have something to write down information on, so keep an extra notebook and pen in your car. Whether you’re writing down directions or contact info in the event of an accident, a pen and paper is always useful!

Additional Helpful Items To Keep In Your Car:

  • Tire Pressure Gauge: Unless your tire is very low, it’s not always obvious that it needs more air. Low tire pressure can cause a tire to pop, as well as lowering your gas mileage. Whether it’s a stick, digital or dial tire pressure gauge, you can check your tire pressure and make sure it’s at an appropriate, safe level. For more info on proper tire pressure, refer to your owner’s manual.

  • Duct Tape: They say it’s good for a million different things, so it makes sense to keep a roll of duct tape in your car! You might need to temporarily reattach a bumper or mirror, and duct tape provides a quick fix until you can get to a repair shop.

  • Non-Perishable Snacks: You never know when you might get stuck in traffic, break down when you’re hurrying to meet a friend for dinner or run out of gas, and it doesn’t hurt to keep some extra snacks available for when you need them most! Things like granola bars, dried fruit, crackers or nuts are great options – just be sure to watch those expiration dates!

  • Loose Change: Toll roads and parking meters make carrying loose change a necessity. Especially if you’re traveling on a highway you’re not familiar with, having loose change on hand can help eliminate issues if you encounter an unexpected toll plaza. Keep a roll of change or some other loose change in a hidden but easily accessible location in your vehicle, like a console or other compartment.

  • List of Emergency Contacts: Many of us rely on the contacts stored in our phones to make calls, but what happens if your cell phone dies? Few of us memorize these numbers, especially for contacts including insurance companies, so it’s better to have a quick reference list of important contact numbers just in case you need them.

  • Rock Salt, Sand or Kitty Litter: In winter months, especially if you live in a severe winter climate, keeping rock salt, sand or kitty litter in your car can help provide much-needed traction if your car gets stuck. Just sprinkle some under your tires, and it will help your tires grip the road and get your stuck car moving again.

  • Fire Extinguisher: It might seem unnecessary, but keeping a fire extinguisher in your car is a great way to help stay safe in the event of a small fire. Car fires can occur due to a short circuit, leaking fluid, faulty fuel delivery system or improperly transported gas cans, among other causes. Having that fire extinguisher stashed in your trunk could help keep a small fire from turning into a large-scale fire that could cause serious injuries. Be sure your fire extinguisher is properly inspected and in good working order for maximum effectiveness.

  • Tow Strap: Used for towing one vehicle behind another, a tow strap can be a lifesaver if your car is nearing a breakdown and needs a tow for a short distance. And if you have a large vehicle, you might be able to help out another stranded motorist!

  • Weather Radio: If you live in an area prone to sudden weather changes, it may make sense to keep a small weather radio in your car. It serves as a helpful backup to your car’s radio and your cell phone. If the radio has battery backup power or an emergency crank, you’ll be able to stay up-to-date on rapidly changing weather, no matter what.

  • Portable Air Compressor: Many gas stations have air pumps available, but if you have a portable air compressor, you can inflate your tires no matter where you are.

It never hurts to be extra prepared for any emergency situation, but even the most proactive driver can’t prepare for everything. When unexpected damage occurs, rest assured that National General is here to help you get going again. If you have questions about whether your insurance coverage is right for you, reach out to your local agent. They’re here to help you find the coverage you need to keep you safe on the road!

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