Standing out in the hottest summer Wisconsin days is unbearable enough; standing on the side of the road because your car broke down—with no way to fix it or take care of yourself—can be undoubtedly worse. That’s why it pays to take a few minutes to pack your summer car emergency kit—before you need it.
Everyone’s emergency kit is different and customized. For example, if you need medication for an emergency situation, make sure to add that to your list of ‘must haves’ for your car emergency kit:
- Flashlight with new batteries. Make sure you test the flashlight from time to time, and that the batteries are still strong. You never know when you need a flashlight for car repairs, and you don’t want to be left in the dark.
- Water. Carry a few bottles of water so you can stay hydrated while you’re waiting for help to arrive. A supply of water can also be helpful if your car needs coolant. If your coolant level is low enough that you need water in your car, make sure to schedule an appointment to find and repair your coolant leak.
- Snacks. Pack non-perishable snacks that last until you need them, such as energy or granola bars. This is particularly important if you have a medical condition that requires food when your blood sugar is low.
- Duct tape. Duct tape can be a ‘must have’ for any number of roadside emergencies.
- Paper towel. This may not sound like a must have, but a roll of paper towels come in handy when wiping off grease, trying to determine what fluid is leaking from your car, or checking your oil.
- Jack and lug wrench. Most cars come with a jack and lug wrench for changing a tire, but some of the smaller, more compact car models do not. Make sure you have everything you need when you have a flat tire.
- Multipurpose tool. Choose a tool with a Philips and flathead screw driver and knife—along with any other tools you could use.
- Jumper cables. Contrary to popular opinion, summer heat is a worst case scenario for car batteries. Carry a set of jumper cables all year long for those sudden car battery failures.
- First aid kit. Always carry a small first aid kit with band-aids, gloves, bandages, hand sanitizer, and all the other essential items you need in case of an illness or injury.
- Gloves. During summer, a pair of gloves comes in handy if you have to change a very hot tire.
- Road flares. Cars break down during the day and night. A set of road flares or road hazard signs can keep you safe during night time breakdowns or during late night emergency repairs.
- Roadside assistance card or tow truck phone number. Don’t be left scrambling trying to find a phone number at the last minute. Program the Tire-rifik tow number (920-261-8111) into your cell phone so you can call a tow truck in case of emergencies, and a paper copy in case your phone is dead or broken—just like your car.