Monday, March 31, 2008

What's In Your Trunk?

Keep the necessary survival items.

According to, the essential items you need when stranded in a mechanical 911 are water, food and warmth.

You may be able to make it without food for a few days, but your body will dehydrate without water. Water is also good for washing wounds, sanitation and for an overheating vehicle.

Since food spoils in extreme hot or cold temperatures, Calorie Food Bars are the best thing to store in your car. These bars leave you feeling full and provide you the necessary energy.

What if you’re marooned in the winter cold? According to, to stay warm you may need 6 to 20 hour warm packs or emergency blankets. Place the warm packs in your gloves, shoes and pockets. Emergency blankets are made of a reflective material can reproduce up to 80% of your body heat.

Create Your Own Emergency Car Kit.

Here’s a tool kit you can put together containing items prescribed in the March/April issue of Westways Magazine: pliers, an adjustable wrench, a utility knife, Phillips and flat-head screwdrivers, work gloves, a quart of engine oil, antifreeze, a weatherproof flashlight, a Swiss Army knife, wire cutters, bottle opener, an ice scraper, duct tape to make a temporary patch on a leaky water hose and a dry fire extinguisher.

Familiarize yourself with these items before you run into a mechanical emergency.

Have a supply of flares or triangles. The downside of using flares is that they only burn for a short time and can create a fire hazard where there’s a spillage of fuel.

Reflective triangles last forever and are easy to see by oncoming cars especially at night. Be sure you purchase the ones with sides at least 17 inches long and reflective strips that are two inches wide.

Always keep a flashlight with fully charged batteries in your emergency car kit.

Keep jumper cables stashed in the trunk. Don’t skimp on jumper cables. The longer the cables, the less you need to position the cars together.

If you don’t know how to do a jump-start properly, you can do serious damage to your car’s electronics and yourself.

Take care of yourself as well. A cell phone is a must. Store a list of emergency contacts (ICE) in your cell phone.

Packed away in your trunk, you should also carry a first-aid kit containing bandages and dressings, instant ice and heat compresses, scissors, waterproof tape, pain relieving medicine such as Tylenol or Advil, antiseptic wipes, wound ointment and a set of instructions on basic first aid.

Invest in an up-to-date Thomas Guide to help you navigate when you’re totally lost.

Having a roadside emergency kit for mechanical breakdowns and unusual weather conditions can make the difference between getting back on the road or being stuck.