DISCLAIMER: State Farm® compensated me for this post but the opinions expressed in this story are solely mine.
During my family’s recent holiday road trip through Texas, El Niño reminded us that when it comes to the weather and car safety, you can never be too prepared for emergencies: in the same week we drove through Houston, Austin and Waco, a spat of deadly tornados struck Dallas and a historic blizzard blasted El Paso.
Even though I began serious family road tripping in 2008, I will be the first to admit that until just a two years ago, when I began some blogging projects for State Farm, I didn’t really understand that car safety meant more than just having a spare tire, jumper cables, a tire gauge, an emergency tire inflator and a flash light.
Those items are a good start but there’s much more to transforming your trunk than that.
Below is the ultimate check list of what a safe trunk should have:
- Hazard triangle (with reflectors) or road flares
- First aid kit
- Jumper cables or small battery charger
- Windshield scraper and brush
- Spare tire (make sure jack and lug wrench are in vehicle)
- Tow strap
- Blankets and extra warm clothing
- Cell phone and charger
- Road salt or cat litter to help with tire traction
- Brightly colored flag or “Help” sign
- Flashlight (with working batteries), matches or lighter
- Tarp for sitting or kneeling in the snow for exterior work like a tire change
- Small tool kit or multi-tool
- Duct tape – for temporary fixes
- High-calorie, non-perishable food
- Crucial medication
In addition to keeping these items in your vehicle, don’t forget to store emergency items in a bag, box or tub with a lid to prevent them from becoming projectiles in the event of a sudden stop, especially in vehicles with an open cargo area, like SUVs or pick-up trucks. This will keep everything together, making your emergency supplies easy to find when you need them.
Finally, if you’re ahead of the game and already travel with an emergency kit, take inventory of your items to be sure everything is still working well, such as flashlight batteries. Check whether any food or medications may have expired.
P.S. In 2011, my wife and three of our kids had the ultimate road side nightmare when we got stuck in the Mojave Desert. The photo you see below is from the classic story you can read about here.