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Emergency Preparation

A 2016 survey by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety determined that the average American driver spends 293 hours behind the wheel each year—the equivalent of a little more than seven 40-hour workweeks. On average, every driver covers nearly 11,000 miles during a year.

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In a 2017 study, the same nonprofit foundation calculated that more than one in five drivers (21.4%) reported being involved in a motor vehicle crash in which someone had to go to the hospital, including 11.1% who had been seriously injured in a crash themselves.

The lesson: Highway travel is typically a safe experience, yet when we each spend so much time driving every year, the odds sometime catch up with some of us, and unexpected events shatter our perception of roadway invulnerability.

Who would have imagined, for instance, that in October alone drivers in multiple states would be swept away in their vehicles during flooding caused by Hurricane Michael, or that 20 people traveling to a birthday celebration in New York would die in a crash while riding in a limousine?


None of us like to imagine that such tragic circumstances could happen to us. But wise drivers make the effort to prepare themselves for such a possibility, however remote it might seem.

A number of all-inclusive roadside emergency kits have been assembled by various groups and manufacturers. They can be a decent option to consider, though sometimes the grab-bag approached used to assemble the components means not all of the items are of the highest quality. A kit for instance might include great jumper cables but a second-rate set of wrenches and a bargain-basement tire gauge.

Often it’s a smart move to build your own kit, selecting specialized items designed for perform well in emergency situations.

Emergency-supply checklists can be intimidating due to their length. Instead, below we offer a brief list of key items that can boost your peace of mind while on the road. Carrying then in your vehicle enhances your confidence that you are well-equipped in case, somehow, some way, fate deals you a bad hand while you are behind the wheel.

First-aid kit: To build your own, ask friends who have a medical, nursing or EMT background for their advice on what essential items should be in road-ready first-aid kit. The American Red Cross publishes advice for building your own first-aid kit. Or seek out a pre-assembled kit. Outdoor and camping stores usually carry kits of wide-ranging sizes and thoroughness. Adventure Medical Kits makes a variety of compact kits used by active outdoor people. They would be serve most drivers and their families well.

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Flashlight/headlamp: Few things are more valuable during a roadside emergency than a reliable light source.  Lights that offer multiple functions are especially useful to a driver who must suddenly diagnose an unforeseen problem and make good decisions to solve the issue.

Ingear is an emerging new manufacturer of compact lights that address more than one need. The company’s autoAlert model is a distinctive tool that provides four lighting options:

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  • A high-/low-intensity flashlight, which throws a long-distance beam (in high mode) or accommodates closeup work (in low mode).
  • An 18-LED worklight built into the flashlight’s handle, capable of illuminating a wide work area.
  • A bank of red LED strobes that visually alert other drivers of your vehicle’s roadside location—a smoke-free alternative to road flares. Giving fellow motorists a advance warning of your disabled car’s position is a vital safety consideration.

INGEAR also makes autoXscape, a rugged flashlight that includes a both a seatbelt-cutter and a blunt-force window-breaker that can save your life should your vehicle suddenly be swept away or become submerged due in floodwaters. It ranks among the most imaginative life-saving multi-tool designed for vehicles.

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Other key components of an emergency-readiness kit for vehicles:

  • Jumper cables or portable jump starter
  • Jack and lug wrench
  • Road flares or reflective triangles (see autoAlert above)
  • Seat belt-cutter (see autoXscape above)
  • Escape took/window-breaker (if vehicle is submerged; see autoXscape above)
  • Foam tire sealant (aerosol can)
  • Work gloves
  • Rain wear/poncho

Many other items, such as an emergency blanket to a supply of nonperishable food, can be added to this list. But the items listed here are essential items that well-prepared drivers will carry in their vehicles. #Ingear#Ingearauto#emergencytool#workinglights


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