The news reported this past year on several families and adventurers setting out for a camping or hiking trip in the northwest only to find themselves lost in the strange wilderness, confined to their cars waiting and hoping that someone will find them. The loss of CNET’s James Kim brought awareness to the ease at which people can get lost while driving through the forest as well as the need to be prepared for any situation when driving in unfamiliar areas.
It is important to have a few basic emergency supplies in your car as part of an emergency kit. Cell phones are by far the most helpful piece of equipment to have with you when you travel, even if going to remote areas. But cell phone batteries are unreliable and many still don’t take one with them when heading into the great outdoors. Having other supplies with you in the car can make all the difference in staying alive and staying safe.
There are many commercial and basic emergency kits available. Most of these preset packs include jumper cables, reflectors and some miscellaneous tools. Higher end models may also include some type of emergency air pump that you can plug into your car’s power outlet and pump air into a flat tire. Some also come with first aid kits.
Weather and climate in your area or the area you are traveling may help guide you with putting together other items you may need in your emergency kit. A shovel can come in very handy to get your car out of snow or mud. Some traction substance is also important for such situations. Kitty litter is one of the most popular types of traction. You may also be able to carry some remnant carpet strips or sand.
One very important component of a car or truck’s emergency kit is a light source. While a decent flashlight might be included in the kit you bought, you might want to look at investing in a longer-lasting, more reliable light. LED flashlights are known for being the best light source for emergency situations. LED lights come in various sizes and features, including emergency beacons and flashing lights. If you have room a LED headlamp may be a good addition for hands-free light should you need to change a tire or signal for help.
Preserving battery power in your car is pretty important. Some people may want to add a spare radio to their kit. There are radios on the market that do not take batteries. Instead you crank a handle on the side to charge it. A good quality blanket is going to be very important in extremely cold weather because it is unwise to keep the car running while you wait for help. Also include a small supply of food and water.
No one expects to be caught in an emergency situation while traveling. Being prepared none the less is important to you and your family’s safety. Before going on your next family camping trip, hiking adventure or trip to see the relatives, put together an emergency kit with the items described above. Consider your specific travel situation and potential needs and add accordingly. This important item could make all the difference.