Rules for the Road: Be Prepared With a Roadside Emergency Kit for Your Car

roadside_emergency_kitOne of the most important things to remember about safe driving is that you should always be prepared for emergencies. It can happen to anyone; you could be involved in a fender bender, end up with a flat tire, run out of gas, breakdown due to engine trouble, or become stuck due to adverse weather conditions. For situations like this, an emergency kit can be a lifesaver.

Even if you have roadside-assistance coverage through your insurance provider or an auto club, you will need access to a phone in order to contact them, and you may have to wait on the side of the road before help arrives. A roadside emergency kit is intended to aid you in getting help. It can be used to signal your presence to other drivers who might not see you or your car’s lights on the side of the road. This is especially helpful in rainy or nighttime driving situations. A basic car kit should contain the following:

  • A cell phone. Just remember, do NOT use your phone while you are driving. A phone should always remain out of reach until your car is turned off or in park.
  • Food and water. Choose food that won’t spoil, such as energy bars. If you need to wait for help to arrive, make sure to have a snack on hand.
  • A blanket.
  • First aid kit. This will be especially helpful for any minor cuts or scrapes sustained in an accident.
  • In a cold environment, tools for snow removal. Keeping a small shovel, scraper and snow brush is key. Additionally, try keeping a box of kitty litter in your trunk to pour over snow if you become stuck. Kitty litter will help you to get the traction necessary to get free.
  • Tools to attract attention. A flashlight, whistle or roadside reflective hazard triangle can be used to call attention to your location if you are stuck on the side of the road. It is very important to warn other drivers of your presence on the shoulder, especially at night.
  • Tools for basic car maintenance and minor emergencies. It’s good practice to always have extra windshield washer fluid, a tire pressure gauge, spare tire, a set of jumper cables, and a fire extinguisher in your trunk. Better safe than sorry!

If you do need to use your emergency kit, remember to stay calm and remain safe. What other tools do you keep in your emergency car kit?

Summer Driving – Tips to Beat the Heat

dreamstime_s_9995908Summer driving season is upon us! Many know that the cold winter months can mean wear and tear on a car, but did you also know that hot temperatures can also impact your driving experience? A little routine maintenance and common sense can get you and your car in tip top shape for the scorching summer temperatures.

Remember – if it is hot outside, it is even hotter inside your vehicle. On a 90-degree day, the temperature inside a vehicle can quickly rise another 20 degrees in just the first 10 minutes. The dangers of leaving pets or children in a car are well publicized, but even sitting down in a hot car parked in the sun has the potential to cause burns, irritate asthma, or cause general discomfort. Whenever possible: park in the shade or place a sunshade in the window when you exit the car. To help the heat escape, before entering your car, open the windows for a few minutes. Put a towel or piece of cloth down on your leather seat if you are wearing shorts, and be very careful to not touch the metal part of your seatbelt to your skin while fastening the belt.

Perform routine maintenance to keep your car running safely. Extreme hot and cold temperatures can impact your tire pressure. Keep a tire gauge handy and check your pressure on a routine basis. Check your car’s fluids to ensure you are at a safe level. In addition to checking your oil, it is important to also make sure the reservoirs of coolant, transmission, brake, power steering and windshield wiper fluids are filled to their proper levels.

Finally – a great tip for driving in all seasons is to keep a roadside emergency kit in your car. You never know when you’ll be faced with a breakdown, a flat tire, or something else. It is always good to be prepared! For tips on what to include in your emergency kit, check out our blog post Rules for the Road: Be Prepared With a Roadside Emergency Kit for Your Car.

From all of us at GDL Institute, enjoy the summer sunshine and drive safely!