As a population, we’ve gotten pretty comfortable in our cars. We generally consider them to be little rooms on wheels—they’re private, carpeted, and climate controlled. Most of them even have an electrical outlet.
That comfort gets people into trouble. Motorists die every year when their cars break down or crash in bad weather or remote locations, and most of these deaths could be prevented with just a little preparation.
What you put in your car’s survival bag will depend on your specific circumstances. Drivers in the desert may need extra water, while those in New England should pack a snow shovel. But every automobile survival kit should include these six things.
1. Boots, socks, and gloves
Most automobile emergencies don’t result in a week-long struggle for survival. Even in remote areas, help can usually be found just a few miles down the road.
But we don’t always get in the car dressed for a long walk. Drivers are often wearing dress shoes, flip flops, or high heels, and none of those make for very good walking shoes.
Throw your oldest pair of hiking boots into your trunk with a pair of warm socks and some work gloves (car repair can be rough on the hands). Add a warm hat and jacket if you live in a cold climate.
2. A Communication FaiLsafE
When charged and connected to a cellular network, your phone can get you out of almost anything. So keep a car charger in your vehicle at all times and stock cords for both Lightning and Micro-USB ports. In an emergency situation, you may also have reason to charge your passengers’ phones.
I also recommend stashing a “spare charge” in your auto survival bag. Tools like Core Third’s LKG 10000 Powerbank will keep a charge waiting in case your car’s battery dies.
If you often drive in remote areas with no cell reception, I also recommend packing goTenna off-grid communication system. This pocket-sized device connects to your iOS or Android phone to enable texting, GPS, and location sharing in areas without cell service.