How to build an automobile emergency kit

Drivers can create a standout emergency kit for their vehicles by gathering essentials, thinking about the weather and doing regular inspections.

Drivers across New Jersey have to prepare for unexpected situations. According to the New Jersey Department of Transportation, there were 270,231 car-related crashes over the course of a single year. This means that thousands of drivers may have found themselves in vulnerable situations following a collision. People can increase their safety while out on the road by putting together an emergency kit that can be used after an accident that leaves them stranded on the side of the road.

Gather the essentials

Motorists may not know when or if they will ever get in a car accident, but it is still a good idea to keep a few safety supplies on hand at all times. For example, a car owner should make sure he or she has a spare tire and the tools needed to change a flat before heading out on a road trip. Other smart essentials to keep in the vehicle include the following:

  • Jumper cables
  • Drinking water
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Reflective vest
  • Nonperishable food

A person should try to gather items that can be used in a wide range of emergency situations. Putting reflective triangles or flares in a vehicle, for example, can be useful in any circumstance that makes it necessary for the car to be more visible than it normally would be. It is also a good idea to include a small first aid kit within the emergency set in case of a cut, bruise or broken bone.

Consider the season

The current weather may dictate what kind of emergency items a driver should include in his or her kit. Cold weather can present some unique challenges, so a person may want to add blankets, a shovel or kitty litter to the set. If traveling during a wet period, it may be useful to add a rain poncho to the kit. During warmer weather, a battery-operated fan may come in more handy than extra blankets. If space is not an issue, a person can include emergency items for every weather possibility to increase his or her preparedness.

Do an inspection

Once the kit has been put together, a vehicle owner may put it out of mind. However, it is often suggested that drivers look over their kits once every six months to ensure it is still fully stocked and that the items are all within their expiration dates. While nonperishable food can last a long time, it may still have an expiration date. Even some safety items, such as fire extinguishers, batteries or acetaminophen, may become outdated and less effective over time.

Drivers may want to put together an emergency kit before heading out on New Jersey roads to make themselves better prepared for the unexpected. If a crash results in an injury, it may be beneficial to work with an attorney familiar with personal injury cases.