When you’re driving your family to and fro, safety is always the priority, so make sure that when things don’t go as planned, you’re ready. Prioritize it the same way you’d prioritize having a home emergency preparedness kit.
While it’s not pleasant to imagine something going amiss, be prepared for any situation with this checklist and breathe a sigh of relief.
If you end up running out of gas in a secluded area, access to fresh water is necessary. Your kit should contain twelve litres of water for each person that’s normally in the car. That’s enough for three days, where half is used for drinking and half for cleanliness.
The Government of Canada recommends using plastic bottles to prevent freezing in the winter and trading them out every six months.
Stock your car with calorie-dense snacks such as granola bars, nuts, dried fruit, energy bars and non-perishable canned goods. Every time you go for an oil change, check the expiration date on your emergency food to make sure it’s still edible.
Items for Warmth
Pack extra clothes and shoes in case you’re in the car for more than a day. With Canadian winters, you can never have too many extra layers! Bring rain ponchos, and be sure to have enough for all family members.
In addition, include a few wool blankets, which can be used for warmth even when wet. They also double as a window shade or as ground cover.
First Aid Kit
Get an extensive first aid kit that includes a seatbelt cutter, aspirin, gauze pads, instant cold packs, ointment and any puffers, epipens, contact lens solution or prescriptions that your family might need.
If an emergency occurs and it happens to be snowing out, you’ll want to be ready. Having a small shovel, ice scraper and snowbrush on hand is convenient in the wintertime – even without an emergency. Cat litter or salt can be used to give a spinning tire the traction it needs to get out of a ditch.
A wind-up flashlight is a maintenance-free option, ensuring you don’t need to worry about draining batteries. Also, be sure to pack a candle, a canister and matches.
The Government of Canada also recommends keeping road flares in your trunk to signal for help, and a warning light to alert other drivers to your presence if you’re on the edge of the road.
In addition to flares, a whistle is handy for getting noticed if your vehicle is in an obscure area.
An emergency plan contains all the contact information for each family member so that you can reach them if you get separated. It should include each family member’s mobile number. A copy of this plan should be kept in your emergency kit as well as physical roadmaps of areas to which you typically travel, and your destination area if you’re taking a road trip.
Copies of your insurance policies, personal identification, a list of medications taken by each person and your doctor’s contact should also be placed in the kit.
Jumper cables are helpful to have, as they prevent you from relying on the chance that a passerby has a set when you’re in a bind.
Having a towing rope might seem a bit excessive, but can make it much easier for a truck with a hitch to come to your rescue.
It’s wise to keep a fire extinguisher in your car emergency kit in case something catches fire under the hood.
Like many of these items, extra windshield wiper fluid is a good thing to have in your car, whether or not you’re in an emergency situation. Keeping extra windshield wiper in your vehicle will come in handy in case your wiper fluid notification signal malfunctions – there’s nothing quite as frustrating as finding out you’re on your last drop of wiper fluid just as the snow has started to fall!
Once you have assembled your car emergency kit, give yourself a pat on the back for looking out for your loved ones, and yourself. Besides the physical necessities, make sure your car is protected with the right kind of insurance. Car insurance exists to protect you and your family and Desjardins insurance is available to provide coverage you need, when you need it most.