Fall and winter in the Spokane area is a wonderful time! From Green Bluff pumpkins and corn mazes to the Coeur d’ Alene Christmas Tree lighting and Christmas Lights Cruise there is a ton of stuff for everyone to enjoy.
As we are heading into the Fall and Winter months, there is an increased likelihood of facing hazardous conditions while driving. Additionally, while your car may appear to be in good shape, there is not guarantee that problems are going to arise, no matter how well you may maintain it. While some auto issues may occur at or close to your home, the vast majority of issues you will run into will be on the road.
In light of this, it is important to be prepared for when the inevitable and have an emergency car kit. You can purchase a number of pre-packaged emergency car kits ranging anywhere from $20 to $100 online or in stores…. but you can also save a lot of money assembling your own kit, as well as add several additional must have items.
Here are some items that are essential to any car emergency kit:
- Your cell phone and a car charger: A charged cell phone can make all the difference in an emergency. It can be the difference between life and death, and getting help right away, versus no help at all.
- First-Aid Kit: A well-stocked first aid kit is essential for a number of emergencies. It is important to make sure if your family has any special needs (i.e. life threatening allergies) that any special items are included in this kit.
- Three Reflective Warning Triangles: Most emergency kits only contain one triangle…for increased safety it is helpful to have three that are placed 50 miles apart to warn oncoming traffic of your car.
- Tire Gauge: It is important to be able to check that your tires are properly inflated, especially your spare tire. It is important to have a properly inflated spare tire for when you need it.
- Fire Extinguisher: You should have a Class B and C rated NFPA fire extinguisher in your vehicle. These ratings of extinguisher cover flammable liquids like gasoline or diesel and electrical fires as well.
- Jumper Cables: Car batteries die. Jumper cables are an essential item to your kit. They should be at least 10 feet in length and have 8-gauge rubber covering them. Optionally, a car battery charger is a great item to have in case there is no one around to jump your battery.
- Flashlight and extra batteries: Car’s break down at night, and as such a solid waterproof flashlight is an important item to have in your kit.
- Foam tire sealant: This is a great, cheap way to repair a flat without changing the tire.
- Duct Tape: Useful for all kinds of purposes. Having a roll of duct tape is essential.
- Tow Strap or Rope: It may be necessary that you get a tow from a friend with a truck. Having a tow rope that can handle 6,000 lbs is a must have.
- Gloves: During the winter, winter gloves or mittens are an essential item. Leather work gloves are also handy for working on your car.
- 1 quart of motor oil and 1 gallon of coolant: These essential fluids are important for your car to maintain operation and are the most likely to run low. Having these on hand can help save you in a pinch. It is also handy to have a funnel in your car for adding these to the vehicle.
- Rags: Handy to have around to clean up fluids and check dip sticks in your engine.
- Multipurpose utility tool: This can be something like a Leatherman Tool or a Swiss Army Knife. If you have the space for a socket and wrench set, this can come in handy as well.
- Rain poncho: Even an inexpensive plastic poncho is better than nothing when fixing a tire in the rain.
- Warm blanket: During the winter or at night if you’re stranded it can get cold. Staying warm is important when away from shelter!
- Drinking water & non-perishable snacks: Having bottled water and some food with you is essential in case you are going to be stranded for a while. Protein bars are a great choice!
- Snow Shovel: Important to have with you during the winter in case you get plowed in or stuck in a snow berm.
- Cat Litter: During the winter this is great to add traction to icy surfaces to get you unstuck. It weighs significantly less than sand as well.
- Windshield ice scraper: A must have item to take care of your windshield during the winter.
In addition to having your emergency kit in the car, it is vital for you to check your spare tire kit and ensure that you have the tools you need to change a tire as well as the jack, so that you know you have what you need to change a tire.
While Fall and Winter are an exciting time with a lot to do in the Spokane area, it is important to be prepared for the unexpected and to be safe.
As a part of being prepared, don’t forget to understand everything there is to know about your auto insurance policy. If you’d like one of our experts here at North Town Insurance to go over your current policy with you and check that you have adequate coverage at the best rates, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us for a review and a quote!