Have you packed your emergency car kit yet? After seeing thousands of motorists stranded overnight in Atlanta during a storm earlier this winter, you might want to know how you can be prepared, just in case winter conditions linger into the spring. And in a state with weather that The Weather Channel says includes average highs of 88 degrees in the summer and average lows of 34 degrees in the winter—and notoriously violent storms that commonly include power outages and the occasional tornado—motorists should be ready for trouble on the road in any kind of weather.
Every motorist should make sure to have the following basic supplies and equipment in the car during any drive, says Consumer Reports. These items include things that will help keep you and your passengers safe and comfortable—and things that can help you fix basic issues with your car if you know how to do a few simple things.
For you and your passengers:
- Charged cellphone (with a flash camera and flash light), an extra battery and a battery charger
- Pad of paper and pen with a list of emergency contact numbers, including any roadside service numbers or numbers of tow services
- First aid kit
- Gloves, rags and hand cleaner
- Cash in small bills
- Nonperishable snacks and water.
For your car (for simple things like flat tires, blowouts and burned-out fuses):
- Jumper cables to help boost a weak battery and get the car started.
- Tire gauge to make sure that your tires are inflated to their factory-recommended levels.
- Spare tire, jack and lug wrench to switch out a flat or blown-out tire.
- Set of replacement fuses and the car owner’s manual for a quick fix to your car’s electrical system.
- Road flares to make sure you are visible to passing motorists if an emergency forces you to pull over to the side of the road.
- Fire extinguisher
- Basic tools like screwdrivers and an adjustable wrench for tasks such as tightening battery cables or changing burned-out headlight bulbs.
Ready Georgia also recommends including a hand-crank emergency weather radio, any medications that you or your passengers need regularly, as well as games or books to entertain any younger passengers.
Atlanta only sees a total average of about 2 inches of snow per year, according to the Southeast Regional Climate Center, so unlike drivers in some areas of the country that measure their snow in feet, you may need to add only a few items to your emergency kit for the winter. Beyond the items listed above, the Georgia State Troopers say a winter kit should also include:
- A blanket
- Chemical-based hand warmers
- Material like cat litter or road salt that can help your car gain traction on ice or snow
The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also suggest that you include:
- An ice scraper
- Gloves or mittens
- A winter hat
The higher temperatures of the summer increase the chance of a blowout and make your tire repair and replacement kits particularly important, says the Georgia State Troopers. They also remind motorists to keep sufficient amounts of water in the vehicle to help people and any pets stay comfortable in the heat and humidity while waiting for a rescue.
A Kit for Any Need
Finally, while the condition of your car or the weather will determine a lot of what you will need in an emergency, every family may have slightly different needs. Ready Georgia offers a smartphone app and printable kit lists that are customized to the needs for senior citizens, pets and people with special needs, among others. Making the emergency kit that best fits the needs of your family will help you ensure that everyone can stay comfortable regardless of what happens.
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