It dawned on me recently as I was driving along in the middle of nowhere California that most drivers aren’t properly prepared for those “Oh SHIT!” moments. Therefore I’ve decided to make a quick list of things that you should never be without, and it applies to all drivers, regardless of your daily distance traveled.
1. Cell Phone: These little devices are generally the first line of defense when you’re stranded out there on the open road. They give you comfort, provide you with the contact and emergency information of those that can help, and give you the ability to call on #2 on the list. Oh… and don’t forget to keep your cell charger in the car at all times.
2. AAA Card: The American Automobile Association (or Triple-A) has been around since 1902 with the main purpose of helping stranded motorists wherever they may be. Now here’s the deal. If you haven’t signed up for their service then do so NOW! And don’t be cheap – get their “Premier” service. It gives you 200 miles of free towing and only costs around $119.00 per year. Trust me on this, because if you’ve ever been stranded without any type of towing service then you already know that it costs upwards of $4.50 per/mile for a tow and that can add up real quick!
3. Can of Fix-O-Flat: Many of today’s newest cars come with 19-inch or larger wheels. This means that odds of you actually having a spare are slim to none. Some manufacturers are kind enough to provide you with a can of the stuff already, but if you’re like me, then you always know that it’s better to have a spare. Also, if you have one of these kits already in your car, make sure to check the expiration date (yes they do expire) so you’re not S.O.L. if a tire goes South.
4. Roadside Flares: Being stuck on the side of the road sucks, especially at night when oncoming automobiles can’t see you. Carrying 3 or 4 roadside flares solves this problem by not only alerting other drivers to your presence, but also giving you piece of mind so that no one (hopefully) slams into you.
5. First Aid Kit: From slamming that finger in the car door, to hitting your head on the hood-latch while checking the oil, a small first aid kit can come in handier than you know. Get a good one with some bandages, band-aids and a good disinfectant just in case you really mess yourself up.