It’s the most wonderful time of year, and tens of millions of Americans are hitting the trail for vacations and hometown visits this holiday season. To get ready for your holiday road trip, check out these 8 key emergency products you should always keep in your car.
This Christmas and New Year, be prepared for busy roads and the potential for slowed down or stopped traffic. On top of heavy traffic, the winter season has the potential to bring even more delays with weather like heavy rain or snowstorm around this time of year.
Bad weather conditions can put more than just a damper on driving, it can result in traffic delays that can leave you stranded on the highway for hours on end. In this scenario, you won’t want to be caught without essentials like snacks, water, battery packs and warm blankets, especially if you’re stuck in freezing temperatures.
It’s better to be safe than sorry with emergency essentials packed in your car. Here are 8 key emergency products you should always keep in your car, especially during a busy season of travel.
1. A first aid kit in case of injury
No matter the time of year, it’s always a good idea to keep a first aid kit in the glove compartment or another accessible spot in your car. No matter if it’s a small cut or a more serious wound, keeping a kit in the car can help make accidents or injuries more manageable. A travel-size first aid kit should feature everything you’d need in case of emergency including: Band-Aids, bandage, alcohol pads, an ice pack and more – all in a conveniently compact bag.
2. Power pack for road emergencies
All drivers should keep items like jumper cables, flares and a cell phone car charger in the car in case of an emergency. It can seem like a lot to keep in the trunk, but there are plenty of smart, multifunctional gadgets that can help in an emergency.
You can choose an all-in-one power pack in the market which works as a jumper, a battery pack for charging electronics as well as an LED flashlight that features an emergency strobe. The compact pack is a must-have for your car’s glove box, because you never know when you’ll need it.
3. Thermal blankets and other winter gear to stay warm in freezing temperatures
In the event that you need to spend a period of time in your car with the engine (and heat) off, you’ll want something to keep you warm, especially if the temperature outside is dangerously low. A thermal blankets packed in your car can help retain 90 percent of your body’s heat and can also block out rain and snow while you wait for help.
Along with a thermal blanket, keep extra winter gear like gloves, scarves and beanies to stay warm in case you need to shut your engine off. While they might not be as effective as a thermal blanket, they’re easy and convenient items to always keep in your car and can still help you retain your body heat.
4. Ice scraper and snow brush or snow shovel
If you get caught in an icy or snowy situation and need to clear your windshield in a pinch, a compact snow brush and an ice scraper will do just the trick. A good snow brush or ice scraper is one that is equipped with sturdy bristles to help you easily remove heavy snow and a blade to break through and clear ice.
In the event that a significant amount of snow is blocking your vehicle’s wheels, you’ll need a little more than a snow brush to dust it off. For areas that get heavy snow, an emergency portable snow shovel can get you out of a tricky snow situation. Some people referred to an extendable snow shovel as a “lifesaver” for shoveling snow around their car tires.
5. A full water bottle to stay hydrated
It’s a good idea to keep a couple of water bottles per car rider while traveling because you never know when traffic will keep you from the nearest rest stop. Don’t forget about your pets, either—make sure you set aside water for them as well. Before hitting the road, make sure to fill up your reusable water bottle, too.
There are a plentiful of selection of water bottles for you to choose in the market: reusable bottles that are guaranteed to keep your water cold for hours which not only keep water ice-cold, but also filter out the taste and odor of chlorine; or colorful bottles for kids featuring convenient straw lids and are surprisingly lightweight, making it easy to travel with or store in kids’ backpacks.
6. Non-perishable snacks to keep in the car
Just like every household should have a stock of non-perishable food in case of emergencies, so should vehicles. If you find yourself stranded on the side of the road or stuck in hours of traffic, you or your family members may work up an appetite. Beyond the annoyance of being hungry on the road, it can become a potentially life-threatening situation if you’re not sure when you’ll be able to get your next meal.
Keep items like dry goods and snacks like protein bars, granola bars or cereal in the trunk to snack on. And if you’re traveling with a pet, make sure your furry friends have extra water or canned goods in the car, too.
7. A car charger to keep your devices charged up
Don’t let your smartphone lose power along your journey, especially if you need it to call friends and family or alert authorities of an emergency situation. Keeping a car charger in your vehicle year-round is a great way to ensure you’ll have charged devices in case of any type of emergency.
8. A traction aid like a bag of sand or cat litter
For wintertime drives, make sure you have a traction aid in case you can’t get your wheels to the pavement. Store a bag or two of heavy cat litter or sand in your boot or at the back of your van because slippery roads might get you stuck in your tracks.
If you get stuck in the snow, ice or even mud, you can surprisingly use them to provide traction for your wheels by sprinkling litter or sand under your tires! Your tires will have something to grip onto and you will have a better chance of escaping the snowbank. For cat litter, we recommend using non-clumping cat litter, as we find this to be the most effective.
Apart from that, using your floor mats is another helpful tip for getting out of a snowbank. Simply place them in front of your tires. They will provide more traction for your tires and help you move your vehicle.