Whether it’s a summertime cruise along the coast or a holiday visit to Grandma’s, there’s nothing like that feeling of freedom on the open road. You’ve got the whole route mapped out (or loaded on your smartphone’s GPS), car packed with every duffle bag you own and a tank full of gas. You’re ready to roll…right?
Not so fast. You’re forgetting that driving has its dangers. Nasty weather, distracted drivers, unmarked roads, wandering wild animals and speed demons are just a few hazards to watch out for. What’s even more important than being awake and alert at the wheel is being prepared. While you’re planning your route and your wardrobe, plan for the worst-case scenario by packing a car safety kit that never leaves the trunk.
It may seem like a long list, but these just-in-case essentials are sure to give you extra peace of mind:
- First-aid kit complete with: bandages (liquid bandages work well, too), sterile gauze pads, antibiotic ointment, tweezers and hand sanitizer, because it’s never a bad idea to have these boo-boo fixes on hand
- Over-the-counter pain relief medicine, including an aspirin-based and maybe acetaminophen for any little ones on board
- Change of clothes, including underwear and several pairs of socks if the weather dips too low or you get wet from battling rain or snow
- Spare supplements (or medication for anyone with a serious health condition who shouldn’t miss a dose)
- Bottled water for cleaning wounds or helping to melt ice
- Coconut water to keep you hydrated (it’s naturally rich in electrolytes)
- Nutritious, non-perishable foods, including trail mix, oatmeal, peanut butter, canned beans and crackers
- A blanket…or two to keep everyone warm if the heat cuts out, a window gets stuck open or you have to walk in the cold to the nearest gas station
- Flashlight with extra batteries, because you don’t always drive during daylight
- Box of matches for a number of reasons, including starting a fire to stay warm
- Kitty litter to provide a little traction in case your car gets stuck in snow or mud (pour several cups into a plastic baggie so you’re not too weighed down)