The temperature reads 97 degrees at 3:20 PM. It’s been a long, hot day and I am ready get home with my three year old twins. But as the turn of events would have it, we’re not going home any time soon. I blow a tire and am stranded on the side of a busy road.
I learned some hard truths that day about being prepared. So are you prepared for a roadside emergency? Consider these few things to be prepared.
First: Turn on your hazard lights and move the vehicle off the road when possible. If you cannot get off of the road make sure the kids stay fastened in their seats in case your vehicle is struck by a passing car. If you can get the children to a safe place away from the road, preferably in a building, do so to provide them with additional safety. Keep yourself buckled if you are waiting in the car for help to arrive. If you must make a needed repair use extreme caution when exiting the vehicle. Exit on the side away from traffic ALWAYS!
Phone: Always carry a charged cell-phone and charger that can plug into the car. Keep the phone within reach so you can access it in an emergency without getting out of your seat. Call for assistance or let someone know where you are and what has happened. Make sure to keep these contact numbers in your phone: your emergency contact, towing company, insurance agent and information, auto repair and auto body shops and of course AAA (if you have it) and your membership number.
Water: Make it a habit to fill water bottles with water every time you leave the house. This will make sure that no one becomes dehydrated especially in the heat of a summer day and avoid crankiness. Also, for the hot summer months, keep a gallon of water in your trunk incase you overheat, the car that is.
Food: Store non perishable snacks in the car that won’t melt. Think nuts, granola bars, to go containers of cereal, etc. Even if it’s a bit stale it will be enough to keep the hunger pains at bay until you get somewhere or the kids quiet.
Gasoline: Make sure to keep you gas tank over a ¼ full at all times so that you have the option to leave the vehicle running in extreme weather.
Toys/Books: The last thing you need adding to your stress are kids who are bored out of their minds. Make sure to keep some books in the car, coloring books and markers (crayons might melt) sing songs or play an I spy game. Keep them occupied so they do not become distressed. If you have electronic devices for the kids, perhaps keep a converter plug to charge their items as well.
Blankets: Blankets ensure everyone keep warm in cold winter weather. You can also use it if you need to lay on the ground to assess or make a repair. If you have limited space buy the mylar thermal (space) blankets that take up only a couple inches of space. Have one for each member of the family.
Flashlight & Extra Batteries: Keep these in your glove compartment for extra lighting for yourself to be able to see under the hood or for changing a tire, in case you need to walk on a dark road, or to signal for help. BONUS if you have one that has a headband so you can stay hands free and have light at the same time.
Trash Bags: These can be used as extra insulation to keep you warm or as rain gear. They will also come in handy should you need to lie on the ground to change a tire. Consider storing your emergency gear, like blankets, in the trash bags so everything is in one place. If you are past the age of using your diaper bag, reuse it as a trunk organizer for all your gear!
Empty bottle: This may seem like an odd thing to keep in your car. But if you have little boys, this can come in handy when they have to go “right now” but there isn’t a place to go and you are in a very public place. A plastic bag may work for the other type of “gotta goes!”. Hey, when ya gotta go…you gotta go!
Roadside Assistance: Check to see if this option would be a good option for your family, especially if you are away from home often with the kids. Your insurance may have an option and AAA has options too.
Other items to keep in your car for repairs: Make sure these items are in your car! Inflated spare tire, car jack, wrench (a four way wrench is easier to use to put your weigh into to get the bolts off the tires) and jumper cables.
Be prepared and have safe travels!