Essential items to keep in your vehicle in case of an emergency
When driving short or long distances, keeping certain items in your vehicle will help you avoid unpleasant surprises.
Vehicle: Nine must-haves to add to your emergency kit
On March 14 and 15, 2017, a major snowstorm hit greater Montreal. One thing led to another, and 300 drivers found themselves stranded in their vehicles for over 12 hours, parked against their will along a section of Autoroute 13. Since then, we’ve been less hesitant to lug around emergency equipment. So, what should you keep in your vehicle “just in case”? Here are some emergency kit essentials that will keep you safe, rain or shine!
1 - Winter tools and accessories
In the fall, when the cold weather begins to set in, make sure your vehicle is winter ready. Be prepared and have the tools and accessories you may need to confront our harsh Quebec winters. A good snow brush, a small shovel, traction aids, and enough warm gloves and mittens for the entire family are a few examples of items that may come in handy.
2 - Portable charger
It’s a classic scenario: your car has broken down and you’re stranded, counting on the roadside assistance your insurance company provides. But the plot thickens: you realize that your smartphone is … in the same sorry state as your vehicle. With a portable charger at the ready, you can easily power your phone. And it’s doubly useful, seeing as your cellphone can also work as an effective flashlight.
3 - Blanket
We can only hope that the people stuck on Autoroute 13 had thick blankets to keep them warm while they waited out the storm. Roll your blankets up tight to save space and slip one or two in your trunk to beef up your emergency kit and boost your sense of security.
4 - Paper documents
We all agree that technology is useful. But having a plan B is even better! You should make paper copies of important documents and always keep them on hand. If you’re in a car accident, you’ll wish you printed a paper copy of a collision report form.
An up-to-date road map can be an important ally when the GPS starts acting up in the middle of nowhere.
Finally, a list of important phone numbers—such as your insurance company’s roadside assistance number—may be helpful in case your phone dies and you can’t charge it.
5 - Windshield washer fluid
Slush. This single word is a reminder that your windshield must be kept clean, especially in the winter. Keep a four-litre bottle of seasonal washer fluid in the trunk and you’re set. You can even buy a plastic stand to keep the bottle upright and in its place.
6 - Owner’s manual
Newer vehicles come with a wide range of on-board technologies. Unless you’ve mastered them all, it’s best to keep the manual in the car. If there’s an emergency and you have to refer to the manual, it’ll be near at hand (and it’s much more useful in your car than on your bedside table).
7 - Non-perishable food
A three-hour trip that winds up taking twice as long... Your little tykes will be ravenous (and so will you)! You can never be too prepared when on the road. You might blow a tire, crash your car, get caught in a snowstorm or run out of gas; these things can happen to anyone! Add some granola bars, trail mix, your favourite candies and a couple of water bottles (though you’ll probably want a thermos in the winter) to your emergency kit. You’ll be able to think (and drive) much better on a full stomach.
8 - Tool kit
It’s a good idea to keep a little multi-purpose toolkit in your vehicle. Paper, pencils, a multi-bit screwdriver, pliers, work gloves, garbage bags and duct tape, especially, may prove useful. You never know what an emergency situation might throw at you.
9 - First aid kit
This is another practical must-have! To make things easy, buy a complete kit at your pharmacy, on Amazon or from St. John Ambulance. Your first aid kit should always have assorted sizes of adhesive bandages, sterile gauze pads, medical tape, instant hot and cold compresses, antiseptic and masks. Personalize it according to your family’s needs, such as with over-the-counter medication.
And there you go! Adding these essentials to your emergency kit is the finishing touch to planning your next vacation. You can feel safe knowing that you’ll be prepared in the event of an emergency. Right, now what are we missing? Of course! An auto insurance policy has your back. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you’d like to update your file or add roadside assistance to your policy!
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