If there’s one thing that’s certain in life, it’s that everything is uncertain. Cars, like any human mechanical invention, are not infallible. Meaning, they are prone to breaking down when you least expect them to. With the weather already changing, it won’t be long before winter is finally upon us. While the holiday season can often tempt you into taking cross-country road trips, the cold can be extremely dangerous if you experience a car breakdown. Frostbite, pneumonia, or even death become very real dangers. This blog will show you how to handle this situation if it ever arises.
1. The Winter Car Breakdown Survival Kit
Unfortunately, if you’re not careful, you could end up with frostbite, or even die from exposure to the cold. However, that doesn’t mean you have to stop driving places in the cold weather. All you need to do is make sure you’re prepared for a potential breakdown. Here are a few useful things you probably already have lying around, that just need to be moved to your car:
2. Battery-Powered LED Flashlight
Whenever people talk about survival kits, a flashlight is usually present in almost all of them. After all, how are you going to survive if you can’t see where you’re going? A breakdown on a dark country road could require you to get out of your car and check for the problem. If you aren’t careful, you could end up falling in a ditch or trip over a pothole and injure yourself seriously. A flashlight, especially one of those newer LED versions can be a huge help, especially to signal to other passing vehicles.
3. DIY Candle Heater
You might think you don’t need this item because most cars usually come with climate control. That is true, but your engine needs to be running for it to work, which means you’ll be consuming fuel. Once you run out, you’ll have no way to warm yourself. On the other hand, ice or snow could block your car’s exhaust pipe, leading to carbon monoxide flooding the cabin. To avoid the risk of freezing to death or dying of carbon monoxide poisoning, a simple metal can and a candle are a simple solution. The candle generates heat which the metal absorbs and releases into the surrounding. In the open, this wouldn’t be much, but it works surprisingly well in confined spaces like a car.
4. Travel Charger for Phones and Tablets
Smartphones and tablets are lifesavers. Even if your car doesn’t have navigation, you can still travel just about anywhere as long as it is on the map. You can also make emergency calls in case you have a roadside breakdown and need assistance. Unfortunately, if your device is out of battery, you may have no way to check where you are or to call for assistance. Luckily, any standard travel charger should be enough to keep your devices running. At least for as long as your vehicle’s battery has juice.
5. Small Notepad and a Pen
Phones are a great thing to have, but sometimes nothing beats the old-fashioned dependability of pen and paper. If you need to make quick notes, write down emergency phone numbers, or jot down directions, you’ll need something that doesn’t have a battery. Using your phone could work, but what if your battery dies when you need it the most? A simple note can help you retain important information without having to depend on electronics.
Top 8 High-Tech Car Safety Features
6. Small Essential Tools
You might not be a mechanic. But you may be able to fashion a makeshift solution to a car problem until you can find the nearest mechanic. That is why it is crucial to have a set of basic tools on hand in case you ever break down. You’d be surprised how many ways you can use a roll of duct tape. There’s a reason why astronauts take it up into space. Down on earth, try adding a pair of pliers, some spanners, and assorted screwdrivers to your kit. Don’t forget the tire iron or the jack, in case you have a flat.
7. Portable 12 Volt Air Compressor
When you have a flat tire in the middle of nowhere, it can be extremely stressful for several reasons. For example, you may not know where the nearest gas station or tire shop is. You could also be reluctant to leave your vehicle to go look for one. Or you could have everything you need, but your spare tire could be flat. A few years ago, this would’ve been a tough situation. But thanks to modern technology, we have smaller, more powerful, and more efficient air compressors. They can run off the 12-volt outlet you find in every car. If you have tubeless tires without any large tears, you’ll be able to fill up the flat without having to change tires.
8. Jumper Cable and Towchain
These two items are essential for very obvious reasons. A simple jumper cable can be enough for you to get your car started with the help of a friendly motorist, instead of having to pay for a tow truck. If you don’t know how to jumpstart your car or are unable to do so, the tow chain will help the same motorist tow you to the nearest source of help.
9. Safety Ice Absorbent for Traction Problems
Ice can be extremely dangerous for the average car. You can lose traction in your wheels, causing your car to become stuck in the ice. Getting out and pushing can be dangerous too since you might slip and injure yourself. Luckily, safety absorbent supplies an easy fix. It can get rid of enough ice for your tires to gain some traction and get you out of there. Cat litter works just as well, but most people aren’t amenable to a bag of kitty litter in their car.
10. Woolen Gloves and Warm Beanie
The cold weather can be unforgiving, especially if you aren’t dressed for it. In most breakdown situations, you will need to get out of the car to assess the damage or signal for help. If you don’t have warm clothes, you risk the chance of frostbite, especially on your fingers or ears. Keeping a pair of warm woolen gloves and a warm hat in your car is easy to do and offers the protection you need in such a situation.
11. Basic First Aid Kit
Preparedness is key, especially when on the road. A breakdown may not always be your car running out of fuel or developing a problem. It can also sometimes take the shape of your car skidding off the road, hitting a tree, an animal, or even other vehicles. If you’re injured when this happens, you don’t want to wait hours for paramedics to arrive and help you or others. A basic first aid kit will help you deal with minor scrapes and cuts while you wait for help to arrive.
12. An Old Warm Blanket
In certain cases, you have no choice but to wait a long time for help to arrive. This usually happens in remote or unpopulated stretches of road without any towns or cities nearby. You may have called the authorities, it could take them hours to reach you. You don’t want to stay shivering in the cold, especially if you want to conserve fuel. The DIY candle heater helps, but a warm blanket will help you conserve even more heat, helping you survive the cold.
These are all very simple and easy-to-find items that you may already have in your garage. In most cases, all you have to do is move them into a box in the boot of your car. Remember, nobody expects you to be able to fix a mechanical problem on your own. But this survival kit can help you hold on for as long as it takes for someone to arrive and get you to somewhere you can find help, such as the nearest Charter service area. Stay safe, stay smart, and stay prepared. Don’t be caught out in the cold.