4 April 2005

What to Include in an Emergency Kit

Despite all the care and attention you lavish on your “baby,” there’s a good chance it might leave you stranded on the side of the road someday. It’s sad, but true – a classic vehicle is six times more likely to breakdown than a newer model.

As you’ll never be sure when or where this misfortune may strike, take the advice of nearly 10,000 fellow enthusiasts and carry an emergency kit. Based on their responses in the 2004 Hagerty Protection Network survey, here are the top five items your car’s trunk should never be without:

  1. A Tool Kit: This can be custom-designed based on your car’s particular quirks, but a basic one should include flat and Phillips head screwdrivers, pliers, vise grips and an adjustable wrench.
  2. A Flashlight: You can’t fix it if you can’t see it, so a flashlight is essential if you break down at night as well as helpful for illuminating hard-to-see regions under the hood anytime. It helps to have someone hold the flashlight while you work, so if you often travel sans passenger, you might want to invest in a headlamp.
  3. A Cell Phone: If the problem at hand is beyond fixing on the side of the road, you’ll need to call for backup. With a cell phone you can call for assistance without having to trek to the nearest pay phone.
  4. A Fire Extinguisher: A fire can quickly devastate your car and place you in serious danger, so you should always carry a fire extinguisher – it could mean the difference between a minor claim and a total loss.
  5. Spare Fluids: If your car springs a sudden leak, or if you’re having too much fun cruising to stop for gas, some spare fluids might come in handy. Consider carrying two quarts of oil, a couple gallons of gas and some coolant for roadside emergencies.

We realize that trunk space can be at a minimum, so these are just a few of the items that could come in handy if you break down. Other things to consider include jumper cables, extra fuses, a first-aid kit, flares or caution signs, a blanket, food and water, and batteries.

Consider adding or subtracting to your kit based on the problems your car is prone to, the length and location of your trip, and the season in which you’re driving.

Watch for more Network Hobby survey results coming in future articles.

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