You may think that accidents are random happenings over which you have no control. To some extent, that is true, because you can’t predict if another car is going to run into you. But in many cases, you can prevent minor annoyances and inconveniences from escalating into disasters by being prepared. The following items can help you cope with several emergencies.
- Fire extinguisher. Because of all flammable fuel and oil involved, car crashes can produce heat and flame. An extinguisher can quickly put out a small fire before it bursts into an inferno that destroys your vehicle. Look for one that works on Class A (wood, paper, plastics), B (gasoline, oil, grease) and C (electrical) fires. Have it checked once a year and so it can be recharged as needed.
- Flashlight. In an dark parking lot at night, a flashlight can help you find keys that have dropped into a ditch. The light can also help you locate the reason behind your engine not starting. An LED version lasts the longest and uses the lowest energy for longer battery life. Look for one with a built-in stand, so you can prop it up when making repairs.
- Comfortable walking shoes. If you have a favorite pair of comfortable walking shoes that are no longer presentable, don’t throw them away. Store them in your trunk instead. You’ll be able to change into them from dress shoes or heels if your car breaks down and you have to walk somewhere for help.
- Tire inflation can. Available at many auto supply stores, this item can be a lifesaver if you have a flat and don’t have a spare tire, or you don’t know how to change a tire. You simply stick the nozzle of the can into the air valve of your car. It automatically seals any breaks and fills your tire enough so you can drive a few miles to the nearest station or auto shop. Be sure to get one that’s sized correctly for your vehicle’s tires.
- Smartphone apps. If you have a smartphone, then many free or low-cost apps can be lifesavers. One example is iWrecked Auto Accident Assistant, which stores your insurance emergency numbers and lets you write an accident report. Another is RepairPal, which tells you how to solve common problems such as a dead battery. Both are available at the Apple and Google stores.