When you think of road trips, you might think about playlists, road games and endless adventure. You’d surely be right. But with driving comes great responsibility. And if you prepare with these automobile survival hacks, you’ll be ready for anything.
In this list, we have survival tips and useful resources to have handy that you may not have considered. But before we get started, make sure you’ve got these basic resources covered:
- Jumper cables
- Car jack
- Tire gauge
- First-aid kit (we’ll cover the details below)
- Ice scraper and shovel
Bring a basic tool for automobile survival
Keep a fluorescent flag in your trunk or glove compartment just in case you get stuck. If you’re stopped on the side of the road, especially in a dangerous spot at night, tie the flag on your antenna. If it’s dark, also use your headlights to let other cars know you’re there.
You might already use Waze for directions with traffic updates, but this app also has a feature called “Roadside help” that can let other people on the road know that you’re in need. We’re all guilty of passing a stopped car because someone else must be helping them. But Waze’s roadside help feature acts like a modern-day white flag you can wave for help.
Learn how to survive a tire blowout
Most of us have dealt with the annoying flat tire or two, but a blowout is an entirely different ballgame. If you don’t know better and just follow your instincts, you could end up in a devastating accident. Instead of breaking when you hear your tire explode (make no mistake: it’s loud), Edmonds recommends pressing the accelerator for an instant. Hitting the brakes will likely send your car spiraling out of control. Don’t worry about gaining speed. The drag force of that flat tire will keep you coasting at a reasonable speed.
Look before you leap
Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) tell us that about 36 percent of crashes involve a vehicle that was crossing an intersection. Side curtain airbags have made it more difficult to spot small cars and pedestrians as you’re turning. Whenever you’re making a turn, look at the intersection through your side mirrors before you turn the wheel. This will help you become more spatially aware and avoid disaster.
Keep an old cell phone in your car
You may never be without your cell phone, but is it always 100% charged? What if you were in an accident and it left the vehicle? Keep a charged cell phone in your glove compartment in case of emergency. You don’t need service or wifi to call 911.
Store a carpet remnant in your trunk
You probably never thought an old piece of carpet would come in handy. But if you’re ever stuck in mud or ice, this hack will help get you back on the road. It may even save your life if you’re stuck in a dangerous spot. Simply put the piece of carpet under your tire to help you gain some traction.
Bring a window breaker and a seatbelt cutter
Have you ever watched one of those dramatic movie scenes where someone is hanging in an upside-down car that’s about to burst into flames? Someone tries to help, but they don’t have anything to cut the seat belt… until the very last minute before the car explodes.
Things don’t have to get quite this dramatic for you to need a seatbelt cutter. But if you don’t have one when you need it, you’ll surely be sorry.
It’s also handy to have a window breaker on hand in the event you can’t get out of the doors.
Fully stock your first-aid kit
You may have thought about the first-aid kit. You may even have one in your trunk or glove box. But if you want to be safe, make sure it includes the following items:
- Gauze pads
- Adhesive tape
- Safety pins
- Antibiotic ointment
- Cotton balls
- Aspirin or ibuprofen
- Aloe vera
- Hand sanitizer
- Hydrocortisone cream
- Digital thermometer
- Curved scissors to cut cloth away from an injury
Invest in a portable tire inflator
You’re halfway through a two-day journey and your tire pressure light goes on. What do you do? If you don’t have a portable tire inflator, you’ll probably spend the next hour looking for quarters and a gas station that sells air. And you were making such good time.
You can buy a portable tire inflator for under $50 at most hardware stores. These handy devices plug into your car’s cigarette lighter and allow you to inflate tires on-the-go. Keeping your tires properly inflated is one good way to help avoid blowouts. It’ll also help keep your car as fuel efficient as possible.
With some quick thinking and these automobile survival hacks, you and your passengers should have a seamless ride every time.