Written by: Derek Hartley
Despite the rise in ride-sharing services, public transportation, and working from home, driving remains a staple of American life. According to a 2019 OnePoll survey, the average person spends over 18 days (or 430 hours) per year driving, and it’s even higher for those of us on the West coast! (LA traffic, right?).
With how much time we spend in our cars, it's practical to get prepared. Head to the garage and try out this quick 15 minute car "inspection" you can do yourself to prevent & prepare for common issues that lead to roadside emergencies.
Tires, Mirrors & Lights (5 min)
When was the last time you walked around your car and checked for visible issues like low tire pressure, if any lights are out, or broken or displaced parts? Do you even have a spare? If all the lights work and mirrors are clear, check what the recommended tire pressure should be for your car and check all 4 with a pressure gauge. ( find your car manual online for easy searching!)
Time for an oil change? (1 min)
Here's an easy one - make sure you're up to date with oil changes. Check the sticker on your windshield to find the recommended date or mileage for your next oil change. Make an appointment right now to schedule your change. Pro-tip: Add a calendar event or alert to your phone to remind you every 3 months so you never forget.
Warning Lights Check (1 min)
Pop in your car and turn on the ignition. Any indicator lights still on after 30 seconds should be investigated. It's really easy to put off that check engine light if everything seems fine or maybe you aren't even sure what each symbol means. Address any problems yourself or schedule regular maintenance before there's an emergency.
Supply Checklist (4 min)
Check for these top roadside emergency supplies in your car. Don't have one? Write it down for later, or just order it now!
- Jumper Cables: Make sure they still include plastic protective covers on the clamps.
- Emergency food and water: Think about the temperature variations in your car; an old water bottle and mushy granola bar won't cut it.
- Light & Charger: To maintain a safe amount of light and your communication if your battery dies, a dual use light and charger is perfect.
- Tow rope: Most don't have this in their car, but it's very necessary to get out of a ditch.
- Road Flares: Traditional road flares can be daunting to get started safely and once they burn out, you're out of luck. You should look into LED Road Flares as an alternative. Safe and easy to turn on, ultra bright, crush proof & water proof, plus they're even magnetic to stick to the side of your car. They're a practical must have for any time you are pulled to the side of the road at night.
What do you need in your neck of the woods? (3 min)
For example, if you live in a snowy area you should plan to have additional items like tire chains and things to keep yourself warm if you were to get stranded during a snowstorm.
On the flip side, those in flood-prone areas may want to invest in a waterproof bag for emergency supplies and those in the desert should plan to have more than the recommended amount of water handy. Taking these steps to customize your car emergency supplies will most definitely pay off.
Bundle It & Breathe! (1 min)
You did it, congrats! Find a bag (bonus points if it is a bright color or waterproof) to bundle everything up so you aren't caught digging through the trunk during an emergency. Don't forget to tell everyone who drives the car where it is and what's inside.
Want to make it easy?
If you've done an inspection on your car and are feeling like there are some gaps in your preparedness, the easiest thing to do is pick up a complete car emergency kit ( here's ours to compare!) that is stocked with emergency supplies for cars.
You may also look into getting a go bag for emergencies that you can easily move to your vehicle if you need to evacuate or are going on a road trip. Our top-rated Earthquake Bag is customizable and easily portable for that very reason!
Have a favorite car safety tip you'd like to share with our community? Head on over to Facebook or Instagram and let us know!