My wife and I own one car. We also have one child. Even with only having one child our car has become a wasteland of left behind socks, torn GQ magzines, empty and crushed water bottles, candy wrappers and an assortment of sticky pennies (not sure how they got sticky to begin with.) Those are all the non-essential items in our car, well there maybe a few more…
There is another set of essential items you should always have in your car just in case that “flu outbreak” is a bit more serious than the government will admit. So next time you are prepping for a road trip be sure you check all of these off your list before heading out. We will cover all 10 of these essential in a two part series so be sure to come back for Part II later this week.
When I was in high school (a long time ago) we had this one very cheap friend of ours (what’s up Jeremy?) who tried to milk every last ounce of gas from his tank before filling up. It should come as no surprise then, that I would often see his vehicle parked by the side of the road which could only mean one thing: Jeremy had run out of gas…again. It was always entertaining.
If you are like Jeremy or you simply want to be prepared, you shouldn’t go anywhere without a siphon pump. If you run out of fuel many miles from a station you may be able to borrow some fuel from whatever good Samaritan stops by to offer assistance. You can get a manual version for around $12 (but there are also electric options available too.)
While we certainly never hope you crash off the road and need to survive several days trapped in your car, having several bottles of water can literally be a life saver. It certainly doesn’t hurt to have some water around if you end up having to wait for a tow truck for an hour or more either.
And for any parents with infants, Sharlay and I have found extra water bottles are not only great for having to make formula, but also as a wonderful toy to distract your child.
Traction Mats or Sand
When I used to go deer hunting with my dad, we used to travel to Northern Minnesota into some pretty backwoods type places. The road into our hunting spot was nothing more than two ruts in the dirt and often if it rained or got super cold (which it does frequently in Minnesota) we would often get stuck on our way in or our way out. Yet rarely did anyone plan for this occurrence even though it happened every year. Don’t let that happen to you!
Whether it is snow, ice or mud you are likely to encounter getting stuck at some point in your life while operating a vehicle. Even if you live somewhere that doesn’t get snow or ice (How you doing Atlanta?) you should always be prepared.
You can either purchase some traction mats (they come in plastic, rubber or lightweight steel) or you can pick up some sand to help you get unstuck. If you are really desperate and possibly have the misfortune of owning a cat, you can always use kitty litter.
And if you are just looking for something to help out with ice under your tires, snow salt is also something worth carrying around in your vehicle.
I have to admit, as a man, I would prefer to use road flares. There is just something bad ass about a road flare. However, you do run the risk of the flares burning out before you are done fixing your car or before the Calvary arrives with help.
Thus, the safer bet is to use reflective triangles. They will usually run you about $25 or so for three. Unlike flares they never need to be replaced and you don’t have to worry about getting them to work.
Store at least three in your ride so you can put them directly behind your vehicle. U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle guidelines advise putting one triangle 10 feet behind the vehicle, one 100 feet behind the vehicle, and one 100 feet in front of the vehicle—all in the center of the driving lane. If the road curves, place the reflective triangles ahead of the bend to warn approaching cars.
While it is a no-brainer to carry blankets in your car during the winter you might be unaware of how helpful they can be in warmer months.
If you have to work under your car or have to kneel while changing a tire, a blanket can help prevent you from frying yourself on the hot blacktop while you work. Don’t worry about how big the blanket it, just fold it up and store it away for future use. Trust us, you will be glad its there.
Okay that is it for Part One! If you have any thoughts on the above be sure to leave ’em in the comments box. Until tomorrow Be a Better Man.