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Emergency Vehicle Kit

Updated on August 15, 2015

A vehicle emergency kit

A vehicle emergency kit is one of those things that we all don't think too much about until it's too late, Then we wish we hadn't left home without one.

Everybody thinks that they won't be the ones who break down because they look after their vehicle and it appears in good shape but there's no guarantee problems won't arise. Although the majority of breakdowns happen outside our homes, breakdowns can also happen in any area and any time to anyone and this is where an emergency vehicle kit and it's contents will
save your day!

Due to the rapid spike in technology and cheap available materials these days, cell phones have become one item that everybody carries these days and this has placed us into a false sense of safety with the quick ability to phone for help or to call an emergency break down company. Cell phones are the number one tool when it comes to a vehicle emergency kit as you will see further down in this article, but we cannot rely on these due to the battery life, signal loss and if you were to be unlucky enough to crash, the possibility of a broken phone.

In this Vehicle emergency kit article we will be discussing items ranging from simple tools to help with breakdown to small items that might just save your life due to the ever growing risk of accidents on the road and other scenarios that may lead you to be stranded

Traffic jam on the m6 leaves motorists stranded for 5 hours in both lanes

Scenarios that may lead you to be stranded

The reasons to have an emergency vehicle kit in your car are endless and due to growing road users, changing climate and unpredictable weather and events of man made or natural disaster a well equipped emergency vehicle kit could save your life or at least make your time stranded more manageable to cope with.

Scenario 1: During your working day at the office it starts to snow lightly but you think nothing of the dusting that is over the roads and can easily drive in the current weather conditions, yet after you have had your dinner break you look out again in to a complete whiteout with near no viability but your still in with a chance of getting home due to the accumulated amount on the road surface so you take half a day off and head out for the 50 minute drive home over the hills. The roads are fine and you wonder why you panicked yet when you get over into the valleys the snow depth is great and you are unable to turn around and your car and yourself gets stuck. There is no way of walking out for help and you can't see any vehicles coming your way so you decide you'll have to spend the night. This is when a well equipped kit will come in useful to help you get through the situation.

Scenario 2: You set out to see your parents on a long journey up the motorway, having a laugh appreciating the views and sharing the sandwiches that you have prepared for the journey when half an hour later you begin to hit heavy traffic with no slipways or exits for another twenty so miles. after two to three hours you begin to worry and switch the engine back on to hear the dread clunking of the vehicles starter motor failing. Asking the surrounding commuters in other vehicles you discover that there has been an emergency evacuation in one of the cities forty off miles up the motorway and that all traffic is at a standstill for an undetermined time. you however, are fully equipped to spend the night in comfort due to the contents of your kit

These are just two realistic scenarios that could happen to you or any of your loved ones out of many different situations that could occur. Here is a further list of different situations that can occur to you and that will hopefully steer you in the right direction to having an emergency vehicle kit.

  • snowstorm
  • floods
  • high winds
  • terrorist attack
  • earthquake
  • fuel loss
  • car crash
  • breakdown in the middle of nowhere
  • ice on the roads

Britain in gridlock as trains and planes cancelled with roads blocked

Prepackaged vehicle emergency kit

There are a number of prepackaged vehicle emergency kits on the internet and in stores ranging in price that you can easily find by Typing "vehicle emergency kit" into any search engine and you will be provided with a wide array of retail kits.
These Kits are helpful for anybody who is looking to spend money on a ready assembled simple kit that they can simply throw in the back of their vehicle and forget about until it is needed. They come in many different sizes and have a range of tools and equipment that are included.

Emergency kits come in all different sizes

Items that all vehicle emergency kits need

  • Charged cell phone. Although this item is carried by almost everyone, it may make the difference between getting help fast and maybe not getting help at all. I carry one on my person and have a back up cell phone with a pre-paid sim with a fully charged battery in my emergency kit. I picked up a cheap phone brand new for fifteen pounds.
  • First-aid kit. the second most important thing because of your well being and the need to treat any damage. This should contain an assortment of Band-Aids, adhesive tape, gauze pads, paracetamol, antiseptic wipes, antiseptic cream and any personal medication to you or your family.

  • Fire Extinguisher. Not many smaller vehicles carry fire extinguishers but all vehicles should ideally carry them. You can get smaller fire extinguishers for smaller cars.

  • Three reflective warning triangles. Most prepackaged emergency kits contain one warning triangle but it is advisable that you have three, spaced at 50 feet apart. One is enough though. reflective warning triangles allow other road users to see that you are broken down and act as a warning that a vehicle is ahead.
  • Drinking water. Due to the bulk of drinking water I take along with me a 2 liter bottle of water that is never opened and replaced when needed.

alternatively i have a water purification straw and water purification tablets within my kit. These allow me to drink unsafe drinking water from streams, rivers and pockets of water with less risk of getting ill from any bacteria or pathogens within the water

  • Nonperishable snacks. Food that can last the months or years is a great thing to store in your kit that can be forgotten about for a long time and still be good when you come to need it. make sure that you rotate your stored food though as all food does have a shelf life. I would recommend storing small items such as protein bars, dried fruit and other items that don't require cooking. However if it is winter, I would recommend adding in some tinned food to your kit. one tin per person
  • Foam tire sealant. This is an inexpensive way to repair flats without changing the tire.
  • Jack, and spare tyre. Although they come with the car, many people have been known to take them out and forget to replace them. Always check that you have both a working jack and a properly inflated tyre within your vehicle that you can change if needed.
  • Jumper cables. Jumper cables should be around 10 feet in length and at least 8-gauge although lower will do
  • Flashlight with extra batteries. A waterproof flashlight should be in any vehicle at all times with an extra supply of batteries in case the others run out.

  • Spare clothing and a cover. This may seem bulky to you and something that isn't required but you will be thanking me if you ever get stranded, your wet and on the verge of hypothermia due to having no change of clothing. The other necessary item in any vehicle is a thick warm fleece cover.

  • Survival blanket. These small survival blankets are used throughout many roles from army service personal, ambulance service, police and fire force to NASA. I keep these just about anywhere i can and have one at my workplace, in my vehicle, at home and in all of my backpacks.

  • Duct tape. duct tape is the universal go to item when you need to fix something.
  • Tow strap or tow rope. you can get tow rope and straps from any good hardware stores or vehicle maintenance shops. This will come in handy for both you and others on the road.
  • Camping stove. I always carry a camping stove but this can be added and removed depending on the weather and time of year
  • Multipurpose utility tool/s. I carry a multipurpose tool on my person everyday and have a spare in my vehicle kit. these can perform well when it comes to a multitude of different jobs and are a must in any emergency kit.

  • Snow shovel.
  • Cat litter or wood shavings. This gives you traction on ice and snow and works in a similar way that sand does. This can be a bulky item so you may skip this, it is something to think about during the winter months though.
  • Windshield ice scraper and de-icer.
  • Camping stove and small mess tins. This may seem a lot to some people but I have been in many situations where i have been sat down drinking a hot drink and eating a hot meal whilst others have not been prepared and suffered through lack of preparedness. This may come across to some people as a hard thing to do, eating whilst others cannot. It is often simply the only way others can learn.
  • Mobile phone charger. I have always got with me a mobile phone charger that i can fit into my cigarette lighter socket but i have recently come to carry a portable battery charger pack that you can pick up online these days for a fairly reasonable price. These can charge USB items several times over depending on the battery size and charge time.

Do you carry a vehicle emergency kit?

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My top three must have items for any vehicle emergency kit

  1. snow and ice grips. These snow and ice grips are fitted on to your shoes or boots and have been even designed to now fit high heals (although i wouldn't recommend driving in heals) They strap on to the bottom of your shoes and provide extra grip due to metal studs that penetrate and latch on to ice and snow beneath your feet with your weight.

2. High visibility jacket. This for me is a must for any driver who spends everyday on the road. They make your person more visible for other road users and can act as a flag to signal for rescue. These jackets are also warm and weatherproof being both waterproof and windproof. You could alternatively get a high visibility vest.

3. Car hammer. I have had one of these in every vehicle I have ever had and would advise everybody to have one that is easily accessible in your vehicle from your seat. I personally have two in my vehicle for both driver and passenger. They consist of a metal glass breaker in case of an emergency and also have a seat belt cutting tool built in to the handle.

There are many videos online showing vehicle emergency kits for your inspiration

What do you have in your kit and what would you recommend adding?

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    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      All i need is my cellphone and cash. That is my emergency kit

    • profile image

      Kevin Goodwin 2 years ago

      Next time i get into my car i will make sure i have all the necessary equipment. Thanks for the hub.