Emergency road kit could save your life

Posted: Friday, October 19, 2001

Having car trouble and being stuck to freeze by the side of the road in the middle of a frigid winter snowstorm seems like a scene out of a horror movie. With a little foresight and preparation, motorists can keep this scene in a movie where it belongs.

An emergency road kit can be the difference between a safe journey home and a long uncomfortable night in a cold car.

Preassembled road kits can be purchased in most automotive parts stores or automotive sections in general merchandise stores. They usual sell for around $20 to $30 for a standard kit.

Emergency Road Kit at a glance

The basics

Powerful flashlight with good batteries

Jumper cables

Basic tools, including tire-changing tools

Blanket

First aid kit

Help flag or sign and flares

Tire inflator

Basic repair equipment, like hose tape and tire leak sealant

Tire chains

Spare tire

Water

Extra items for fancier kits

Spare parts: emergency fan belt, fuses, spark plugs and wiper blades

Cell phone

Spare battery

Extra fluids: oil, wiper fluid, antifreeze, gas

Food

Drivers can buy these kits, add to them or make their own. Kits can be as elaborate or as simple as the driver desires, depending on how prepared they want to be.

The basic items an emergency kit should contain are a first aid kit, jumper cables, a flashlight, and some sort of emergency flag or sign that will alert other drives to the emergency while the driver stays in their car, said Keith Reineking of NAPA Auto Parts in Kenai.

Dave Jewell, the owner of Frontier Auto Parts in Kenai, adds flares, a tow rope, gloves and a product to seal flat tires to the list.

"A cell phone's a good idea to have, and of course your basic tools like tire-changing tools and so forth," Jewell said. "You could take food and water, but hopefully you won't be stranded on the road that long."

A tire inflator, emergency fan belt, hose bandage, a set of chains that fit the vehicle's tires, matches or a lighter, and a spare battery can be useful as well, said Jeff Leadens at Shucks Auto Supply in Soldotna.

"If you're going on a road trip a little can of extra fuel is good, like in a safety can," Leadens said. "A little extra windshield wash is good, and then a blanket, like a moving blanket. Those are pretty well insulated and they're cheap.



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