Preparation is key when it comes to car ownership. Checking your engine’s fluids before a trip, keeping your tire pressure topped off, and keeping up with your car’s maintenance are all things you need to stay on top of consistently with your vehicle.
Another aspect of driver preparedness is keeping the essentials for repairs and maintenance in your vehicle. No matter where you drive or how much time you spend behind the wheel, you need to keep these essentials in your car.
Spare Tire, Jack, Tire Iron
You never know when you might pop a tire out on the road. Having to pull off onto the shoulder of the highway and wait for a tow truck is a miserable experience, so why not stay prepared, instead? If you keep a spare tire in your car, you can address a flat yourself and get back on your merry way.
Of course, a spare tire by itself isn’t terribly helpful without a jack and a tire iron to change it with. Make sure you keep these on hand in your car and learn how to use them before you get a flat. It’s not terribly difficult, but it’s a lot harder to do something on the side of the highway with cars whizzing by than it is in your driveway.
The odds that you could crank up your car and find the battery is dead are never zero. Dead batteries are extremely common, but they’re not enough to stop you from getting back on the road. If you keep a pair of jumper cables in your car, you can be prepared to recover from a dead battery. All you need from that point is either a backup battery or the kindness of another car’s owner.
Backup batteries are ideal for people who drive a lot in unpopulated areas. If you’re not likely to see another driver around for miles, keep a spare battery with your jumper cables, and make sure you keep it topped off between trips.
Traffic Cone, Flares, Flashlight
Keep a roadside emergency kit in your car. That way, if you break down on the side of the road, you’ve got a few critical items to signal to other drivers that your vehicle is on the shoulder. These items usually include a small reflective traffic cone, a flashlight, and, occasionally, flares. While flares a bit of overkill in populated areas, they could be life-saving if you often drive through remote regions.