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Driving Emergencies: What To Do, How to Prepare, and Your Roadside Kit

by All Vovo on 02/15/17

Many blogs out there have lists for putting together a roadside emergency kit, and heck, we even put one together ourselves---but that was about five years ago. So, we thought we'd put together a slightly different kind of car preparedness list. There really are a couple of different stages of car emergency, and we'd like to help keep it simple rather than put together an extensive list of EVERYTHING that you might need, which could essentially fill up and weigh down your trunk.

We'd like to give you three stages of emergency tips. The first stage, is what you need to do in reaction to a road emergency. Then, what are the most important items and gadgets that can actually get you out of a tough spot all by yourself. Lastly, the main items you should keep in your car in case you're going to have to wait for help to come, flag down help, or make a walk to find help.

First Stage: How should I act when a road emergency occurs?
  • Whether a mysterious car breakdown or a tire blowout happens, you'll want to safely merge onto the shoulder of the highway or side of the road.
  • Set your car's emergency flashers on, and take a second to keep calm.
  • A cell phone is obviously a HUGE HELP, so immediately use it to call for roadside assistance or someone else that can safely come to help.
  • Stay in your car if you can and keep the doors locked, but if you must get out, make sure and exit from the passenger side---especially on busy roads and at night.
  • If someone you don't know stops to help, you can talk to them, but only lower your window two or three inches, so as to keep anyone from reaching through into your car---just to be on the safest side.
Second Stage: What should I prepare to get out of roadside emergencies myself?
  • If a mysterious breakdown occurs, there may not be much you can do besides call for roadside assistance or a tow truck. Please, always keep your cell phone charged, and to prepare, you can purchase a keep a cell phone back-up battery or "power block" in your car with proper cell-charging cable for your phone.
  • If you're going to fix any roadside issue yourself, make sure you keep old-school flares, LED flares, or triangle reflectors on hand. These are also good if you're simply going to flag down someone for help---but keep your distance from strangers.
  • For Tire problems you can purchase a tire inflator and sealant, such as Fix-a-Flat, that can get you driving again to safety. Also, you should have a spare and the tools to change the tire, such as a tire iron and a jack.
  • An automatic tire inflator. These pumps use your car battery to inflate your car's tires. If it's a small hole or leak, you can inflate and drive on to a safer place to replace your tire or get it replaced by a pro.
  • A tire gauge, if the automatic inflator doesn't already include one.
  • A rechargeable lithium-ion battery with jumper cables is a great way to stay prepared. But the biggest problem is that people don't keep them charged regularly. If you can, this is much safer than having a stranger with jumper cables help.
  • Jumper Cables will do if you find reliable help with your dead battery.
  • Carry fluids like a quart of motor oil and a gallon of coolant. Adding coolant to an overheating engine could be all you need to get to help.
  • Doing any fixes at night is going to require light. Even if your cell has a light you should pack some flashlights and batteries so you can work in the dark hours.
  • A general toolkit could also come in handy with screwdrivers, adjustable wrench and such.
Third Stage: What do I need in case I have to wait for or go get help?
  • If your cell phone isn't working or you don't have one, than you'll be glad you packed a "Please Call For Help" windshield banner.
  • If you're waiting for help, you'll also want to have flashlights and not use your phone's battery any more than you have to.
  • Have some work gloves in your kit.
  • Always keep a first aid kit in your car or truck.
  • Keep bottled water in your car to stay hydrated in an emergency.
  • A rain poncho is really handy if you have to be out in bad weather whether fixing something or walking to get help.
  • Fleece blankets are probably one of the most versatile helpers for you. They can be used for warmth, for ground cover, or even shade.
  • Pack some food like granola bars or packaged trail mix that can stay in an emergency pack for a long time without going bad.
  • Duct Tape is a nice thing to have on-hand in SO many situations.
  • An extra winter-coat is a great thing to have in your car. Just put the one you were about to give away in your trunk instead.
Go ahead, look over these lists. Think about if you're going to want to "wait it out" in most cases or if you'd like to be ready to get yourself out of trouble be temporarily fixing the issue. Then, put your kit together. Most of the random items can be put in an old gym back, and the larger tools can be set nicely in the corners of your trunk or in a separate crate or box. We hope you will use these tips to be smart, be safe, and stay out of big trouble. If it makes sense, think about getting on a AAA or other roadside assistance plan, and make sure to read reviews on how they actually perform in tough roadside situations. These can definitely be worth the investment, though.

Thanks for reading the All Vovo blog. These are great tips to share with anyone, not just Volvo owners!

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