Having an up to date car kit ensures that you are prepared for emergencies when you are in the car. Car kits, when properly stored can enhance you preparedness greatly and can save you if you find yourself trapped on a busy or grid locked interstate. They can help you when your child decides to run through a mud puddle, and they can help you if for some reason your house is unavailable to you like we learned from Michelle in this post about house fires.
I want to go through two real life scenarios. While reading through them I want you to think about what you might want to put in a car kit for that scenario.
In January 2022 thousands of drivers found themselves stranded on an interstate in Virginia due to a blizzard making the road impassable. Drivers spent 27 hours in their vehicles waiting to be rescued.
I want you to picture this scenario, you’re driving through a blizzard with your kids fighting in the back seat, your newly potty trained child needs to use the bathroom, and the baby is hungry. You see taillights stopped ahead of you and abruptly stop, trying not to skid into the car ahead of you. You safely stop as other cars behind you find themselves in the same situation. Looking down at your dash you notice that you have under a quarter of a tank of gas in your car. To make matters worse officials are saying it could be hours before you’re out of traffic. Thinking about what you have in your car right now, how are you feeling about this situation?
In Louisiana on Oct 23. 2023 a superfog caused by smoke and fog caused a massive 158 car pile up. One person recalled hearing crash after crash after crash for 30 minutes. Vehicles were catching fire and rescue efforts took hours.
Now, imagine this. You’re driving through thick fog when out of nowhere there’s taillights and smash! You just rear ended the car in front. Immediately you get rear ended by the car behind. Soon after that vehicle is hit from behind as well. Over and over again you hear and feel cars crashing all around you.
Everyone in your car is safe but the car next to you isn’t so fortunate. They have a severe head wound and are calling for help. Your kids are scared and crying, and you just know that you are going to be stuck here for a long time. That’s when a semi-truck a few cars behind you catches on fire. What are you going to do?
Take A Deep Breath
First things first. Take a deep breath. I’m telling myself that as I am writing these out. I know putting yourself in these situations can cause a lot of anxiety, BUT that’s why we prepare. That’s why we have a car kit, and that’s why I’m here to help you help yourself. So, before we continue, take a deep breath. You’ve got this, and I’ve got you! We can do this together.
What Do You Need to Do?
When you read through these scenarios what’s the first thought that comes to mind? For me it’s always my kids. Making sure they’re safe, warm, fed, occupied, and have a way to use the bathroom if the need arises.
Keeping my gas tank above half at all times is another thing I stress. Having a full tank serves many purposes from making sure you don’t end up stranded in a traffic jam to being able to siphon if an emergency arises.
As a former EMT I have worked many car accidents. I have climbed in upside down cars and held the hands of someone who was trapped as they used the jaws of life to get her out. I have picked up someone who was thrown through the windshield because they didn’t have their seatbelt on. I’ve seen vehicles on fire. Because I’ve seen these in real life and realize just how quickly you can go from driving down the road listening to music to seriously injured, I want to be sure that my vehicle is fully stocked to help those who are injured.
Having comfort items for everyday use is also something I’m thinking about. Having items like blankets, chairs, jackets, shoes, etc.
My Car Kit
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- Boo Boo kit
- Brush, pony tails, bobby pins
- Feminine hygiene products
- Pill case
- Bug spray wipes
- Glow Sticks
- ”If lost call” bracelets
- Rechargeable batteries, wall charger, and cords for phones
- Vomit bags
- Spare change
- In a pickle bag
- Pocket knife
I keep everything contained in these zip mesh bags
- Several bottles of water
- Protein mix
- Dried peanut butter
- Vaccuum sealed crackers
- Drink mix packets
Dealing With Extreme Temperatures
The hardest part about having a car kit is that cars see such extreme temperatures. We keep our food and water in a small cooler. The cooler isn’t going to stop the heat or the cold, but it is going to insulate a little better. We also replace the food and water every fall. Since they will stay fine in the cold and be good for the summer.
Our primary vehicle stays in our garage most of the time, so it’s not sitting out in extreme temperatures for long periods of time. If I didn’t have a garage or our vehicle was sitting out in the extreme temperatures for long periods of time, I would probably come up with a different plan for items that might struggle in extreme temperatures like food and water.
I was talking to a follower of mine on Instagram and she told me that she was worried about the extreme heat of Arizona. As we were talking, she ultimately decided that she was going to have a basket or a bag that she would bring in and out of the car with her that had food, water, and a fire extinguisher in it. You could keep this bag right by your keys or shoes so you remember to grab it before you go.
Kids almost always complicate everything with emergency preparedness. However, if your vehicle looks anything like mine does then kids actually make life a little easier for car kits. Why? Because most kids are little pack rats, and you can find just about everything from treats to toys to blankets to shoes to who knows what. If for some reason you found yourself stranded with kids you would be grateful for the toys and who knows what, that is getting trampled on by your kids every time they get in and out of the car.
If you have babies or toddlers the diaper bag can also be another treasure chest of who knows what in it. In our diaper bag I keep extra diapers, wipes, clothes, snacks, toys, water, etc.
Long Distance Travel
Truth be told we don’t travel long distances very often. We usually stay within our city, and we have family all over. So, if we found ourselves in a situation it wouldn’t be too hard to get help. If we do travel further away than our city I take extra precaution in what we take with us.
Whenever we leave our home for any sort of extended trip I make sure the kids have used the bathroom, have packed a water bottle, and have snacks or treats with them.
What If You Had to Walk Home?
If your car broke down and you had no other choice but to walk home, what would you need?
When my husband worked further away from home we kept a foldable kick scooter in the trunk. Why? Because if an earthquake knocked out infrastructure and he couldn’t get home in his vehicle then at least he could get home a little faster than being on foot.
On top of having a car kit making sure that your vehicle has regular maintenance is key. Having regular maintenance done will help prevent you from being broken down on the side of the road. And, like I said earlier keeping your gas above half at all times will prove to be your saving grace if you are stuck in traffic or even if you need to siphon gas out in case of an emergency.