Gift Your Teenage Driver with a Car Emergency Kit
When my young adult daughter bought her first car in 2000 and traveled regularly between Pennsylvania and Missouri, I wanted to make sure she was prepared for road emergencies. I found a good deal on a car emergency kit at my local big box store and promptly made the purchase. Eleven years later, this auto safety kit still resides in the trunk of her car, having been pressed into service too many times to count.
The most-used emergency kit item has been the jumper cables, although emergency flares, air-in-a-can, and flash light have come to her rescue many times whether she was helping herself or a friend. Through the years, she's kept up with replenishing flares and batteries and other items in the car kit to keep it useful in road emergencies. At the same time, she's learned important lessons about being the first line of defense in a road emergency: if there's something she can do to get herself and other drivers out of a mechanical jam (without putting her personal safety or another's at risk), then she'll do that first.
Take Advantage of Your Teenage Driver's Excitement about Driving
Do you remember how excited you were, passing your driver's exam and earning the privilege of taking your first legal solo drive? This is a significant rite of passage on the road to becoming an adult. Take advantage of your young adult drivers' excitement by gifting them with their own car emergency kits. I promise you, whether they let you know or not, they will go through those road emergency kits with fine-tooth combs, getting to know every piece. And they'll be thanking you every time the kit comes out of the car to help them deal with the unexpected.
Sources for Finding a Car Emergency Kit
There are hundreds of auto emergency kits on the market at prices ranging from reasonable to exorbitant. You can find them online, through your dealership, and in box stores and specialty auto parts stores.
Online If you are shopping online, take advantage of customer reviews wherever you can. Amazon is a rich resource for customer reviews and ratings. Anything less than an Amazon customer review rating of four stars is probably not worth looking at. Read the customer reviews carefully before committing to a purchase.
AAA If you are an AAA (Automobile Association of America) member, take a look at the member-discounted emergency road kits available on their shopping site.
Your mechanic Talk to your car dealership or private mechanic. These folks are in the day-to-day business, and there’s nothing they haven’t seen. A trendy dealership might sell their brand’s emergency road kits, and you will pay top dollar for those, but they will also engage in a conversation with you about what an emergency kit should contain. A private auto mechanic may have a more salty view, and there’s a lot to be learned from that.
Specialty auto parts stores Scout around at your local Pep Boys or AutoZone stores. They are service-oriented and know just about all there is to know about cars. They cater to the do-it-yourself mechanic and also to the consumer who doesn’t know anything about the fine points of how cars work. My mom loves her local Pep Boys. If she needs some cleaning solution to get rid of pine tar on her car or needs a headlight replaced, she goes there first.
Car Emergency Kit Features and Item Options
Car emergency kits come in a wide range of prices. In general, the more emergency items in the kit, the higher the price. Assess your young driver’s needs and choose features and options accordingly.
Hard formed plastic boxes, soft bags
Jumper cables, tow ropes, tire inflators, cable ties, fire extinguishers, safe fuel siphons, duct tape, all-in-one hand tools
Flashlights, safety flares, glow sticks, reflective triangles, LED beacon flares
Plastic rain ponchos, blankets, emergency whistles, utility gloves
Bandages, gauze pads, adhesive tape, wet wipes, scissors, tweezers, cotton swabs, first aid instructions
Folding shovel, ice scraper, emergency survival blanket, hand warmer packets
You may find that none of the emergency kits on the market contains all the items you'd like your young driver to have. If that's the case, then choose the soft bag carrying case so that you can add items of your choice.
Car Emergency Kits Online
Amazon has a substantial selection of auto emergency kits, and it also publishes helpful customer reviews. Amazon also offers free-shipping deals from time to time. If you catch one of those offerings, you’ll get an excellent deal. Here are some of their current offerings.
How Prepared for Road Emergencies Are You?
I have an auto emergency kit in my car.
I have an auto emergency kit in my car AND I replenish items as needed.
A Car Emergency Kit is a Gift of Safety
Young drivers face grim statistics when they get behind the wheel or travel as passengers with young friends. Do you know that the leading cause of death for 16- to 19-year-olds in the US is not disease but a car crash? The same age group is four times more likely to crash than older drivers. You can read the teen drivers fact sheet published by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention not only for more alarming statistics but also for encouraging news about teen auto accident prevention.
An auto emergency kit in and of itself will not minimize a young adult driver’s risk, but gifting one to your teenager will give both of you an opportunity to have a meaningful conversation about this rite of passage and the responsibilities it demands.
In case you answered "no" to either of the poll questions above, now is the perfect time to give yourself the same gift of safety.