All of us that work in the automotive field see the importance of thinking ahead and being prepared. This applies not only to the maintenance needs of a vehicle, but also to things like driving conditions, weather, and the potential for emergencies. We, at Moon Township Automotive, put this together as a guide for you.
Summer is winding down and Fall is approaching. It’s time to clean out your car and restock your supplies so that you can be prepared for anything.
Summer Car Stocked Up
The best way to stay safe, happy and carefree during the summer driving months is to make sure that you have some things on-hand, in your car, in the event of an emergency. We happen to agree with SafeWise, that the list of items you have in your car should include the following:
- Water. The hot temperatures of summer increase your risk of dehydration. This risk is further increased if you’re physically active during your road trip — like when you pack the car or change a tire. Make sure to stay hydrated by always keeping plenty of water on hand.
- Multipurpose Tools. You never know what tools you might need on a road trip — but you certainly don’t want to pack a full-blown toolbox. Instead, buy a multipurpose device…[they are] compact and lightweight, so it can be stored in one of your vehicle’s storage compartments, your pocket, or your purse.
- Warning Devices. Anything from a mechanical breakdown to a traffic accident can render your car inoperable and create a dangerous situation for you and other drivers…To help avoid a breakdown on the road, have your vehicle thoroughly evaluated by a certified mechanic before your trip.
- First Aid Kit. Whether you’re driving around town or across the country, it’s always a good idea to keep a well-stocked first aid kit in your car. Make sure your first aid kit includes bug repellent and sunscreen during the summer, and if a family member or pet needs prescription medicine, pack at least one day’s worth.
- Sun Shelter. If your car breaks down and the air conditioning stops working, it won’t take long before your vehicle becomes uncomfortably or even dangerously hot. A pop-up shelter is an affordable, effective way to help your family keep cool outside of your vehicle.
- Portable Cellphone Charger. Travelers rely on their cellphones for everything from directions to restaurant recommendations. A cell phone is also a necessity if you need to call 911 or a tow truck. Keep a portable cellphone battery charger on hand in case your car stops working or you need to leave your vehicle.
- Fire Extinguisher. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that an average of 17 automobile fires occur every hour. Keeping a fire extinguisher in your vehicle can help prevent a small fire from becoming unmanageable. Be sure the fire extinguisher is rated for Class B and Class C fires by the NFPA, and keep it strapped down in the trunk of your vehicle when not in use.
Other items that they highly recommend you consider carrying in the car include a spare tire and a good tire jack, a lug wrench, as well as a portable battery charger.
Some of these items have expiration dates on them, some will be great to have year round, and some you can take out of your car and put away in preparation for next summer, as you tip over into the fall.
Your Car Should Have These On Board In The Fall
The fall is a little bit harder to prep for. This is because the summer is still lingering around and you can have some very hot days, and yet winter is around the corner and the temperatures can drop fast. In fall, one day you might face temps that soar into the high 80s or even 90s, then within a day or two have a cold rainy day that could induce hypothermia. As the seasons become even more unpredictable with climate change, this becomes even more important to pay attention to.
So our list for what to have in your car during this volatile season includes holdovers from the summer and what you will want to have if you find yourself stuck in the cold. So don’t clean out those summer stocks immediately after Labor Day, maybe wait until you hit Halloween or Thanksgiving (especially if you are driving to visit family), but do add the following:
National Dispatch recommends installing all-season floor mats, “Consider investing in all-weather floor mats. These mats are long-lasting to protect your car’s floors against water, snow, dirt, and grime. These mats will even shield your car from stains and spills. They also do a good job for holding up against general wear and tear. You can use them all year long, not just in the colder months.”
In addition, we feel pretty strongly about making sure that with the shorter daylight hours you carry a flashlight and a spare set of batteries, as well as a bag stuffed with a sweatshirt and a blanket, just in case.
Facing Winter Is Not For The Faint of Heart
As it gets colder, you need to think about things like ice on the roadways. Carrying kitty litter or rock salt with you can help you get traction in the event of an emergency. (Source). Gloves, hats, and waterproof boots can also help to keep you dry and warm. And in the age of GPS and cell phones, most of us have left behind the idea of paper maps, but there is a lot to be said about keeping a good map of the area you are driving in handy in case your car dies and you have either no cell coverage or you lose the charge on your phone and have to hoof it to get help. And don’t forget to have an ice scraper and some extra windshield washer fluid on hand.
And, while it is important year round, in cold and hot times it is even more crucial – assure that you have up-to-date roadside service and the card and number handy. A little bit of planning and preparation can go a long way toward making sure that if you get stuck, or break down, you stay safe and comfortable this year – but knowing help is only a phone call away will also ease your mind if your road trip takes an unexpected turn.