If your car breaks down or you are involved in an accident on Long Island, it pays to have the right supplies stowed away for an emergency. Whether it is a flat tire, alternator issue, crash, or you simply run out of gas, being stranded on the side of the road is often the most dangerous part of having car trouble. Some companies offer a pre-packed car emergency kit, but many people prefer to put them together themselves.
No matter which road you take, there are a few “must-have” items that you need to make sure are in your kit. These include:
1. Flares, triangle reflectors or similar devices
Breaking down in an area where other cars may not see you and could hit your stalled car is one of the most dangerous roadside situations. Triangle reflectors, flares, or other similar devices ensure other drivers see you and can avoid causing a crash.
2. A first-aid kit
Your first-aid kit will probably get more use than any other item in your emergency kit. Scrapes and cuts at the ball field, minor burns on vacation and bee stings at the park. Choose a first-aid kit with plenty of different sized bandages, and supplies for other minor injuries.
3. Jumper cables
A dead battery is one of the most common car issues, and having jumper cables is often half the battle. Even if it is not your car with troubles, they will come in handy if someone else needs a jump.
4. Duct tape
Duct tape can temporarily repair a hose leak or secure a broken side mirror. Its uses are almost limitless, especially if you spring a small leak or need to get your damaged car home after a crash.
5. Tool set
Your car probably already has a spare tire, jack, and lug wrench to fix a flat, but if you have another issue while you are on the go, having a small tool set on-board ensures you — or a passing motorist with more automotive knowledge — have what you need to make repairs. Look for a small socket set and a screwdriver set.
6. A blanket
Even in the summer, it can get cold at night. Having a blanket to keep you warm can save your life if you breakdown and are stranded overnight. A blanket also has other uses, including creating shade in the sun or keeping your clothes clean while changing a tire.
7. Flashlight and batteries
A flashlight is paramount if you have a car problem at night. A headlamp or other hands-free light is a great choice. Do not forget to check the batteries regularly, and pack extra batteries in your emergency kit.
8. Tire inflator and pressure gauge
A spare tire does little good if it is also flat. Having a tire inflator and pressure gauge ensures you can inflate your tires if they are low and keep your spare full as well.
9. Bottled water
Especially in the summer, it is important to have bottled water in your car at all times. If you are spending time broken down on the side of the road or even working on your car in the sun, you are going to get thirsty.
10. Granola bars or other non-perishable snacks
With roadside service and cell phones, most of us will never be stranded on the side of the road for more than a few hours. If you are, however, these snacks could be the difference in a minor inconvenience or starving.
11. Charged cell phone and/or a cell phone charger block
While most people will not go anywhere without their phones, cell phones have a limited battery life and seem to die at really inopportune times. Make sure to keep a charged cell phone in your car at all times or at least keep a portable cell phone charger block with you in case of emergencies.
While there are things you should do if you car breaks down, such as having your car emergency kit handy, there are also things you absolutely should not do if your car breaks down.