Packing a Car Safety Kit
Despite the fact that a good car safety kit is affordable and easy to assemble, a surprising number of people skip over this very basic aspect of automotive safety. That’s unfortunate, because nearly all of us will face some kind of automotive malfunction or accident at some point in our lives.
With a new teen driver, it’s especially important to pack a good car safety kit. The likelihood of having a problem is considerably higher during the first couple years of driving, and the presence of a car safety kit is both a good idea and a great way to help establish the lifelong habit of carrying an emergency kit.
While it may be tempting to purchase a simple auto emergency kit and call it a day, most pre-packaged car safety kits don’t contain everything that your teen will need. They’re a good place to start, but a good car emergency kit should contain most of the items below (depending on the kinds of conditions your teen will encounter):
First Aid Kit
Emergency Contact Information
Jumper Cables (or a tool like the PowerDome)
Rain Poncho (preferably 1 for each passenger)
Accident Instruction Kit (with a disposable camera, pen, and instruction form for gathering necessary information)
Knife and/or Seatbelt Cutter
Window Breaking Tool
Simple Tool Kit
Cat Litter (this can be useful for gaining traction in icy conditions)
Flares (either flameless, round, or traditional)
Water & Energy Bars
Cell Phone Charger Pack or Hand Crank Charger
Extra Windshield Washer Fluid
A few old rags (not covered in gasoline or anything flammable, though)
Extras of any inhalers or medications that your teen or family members might need
Some kind of bag, box, or trunk organizer to keep the items together
Remember that some items in your car safety kit can go bad after a while, especially if your car is exposed to extreme varying temperatures. Whenever you go in for an oil change, you should also look through your safety kit to ensure that nothing needs to be replaced. If you associate the two activities, you’ll be less likely to forget.
You might also find that some of the items make more sense inside the car as opposed to being left in the trunk. A window breaker or cell phone charger won’t do much good in the trunk if your teen is stuck in the driver’s seat. There have also been stories of injured motorists who survived for days on food in the front seat of their cars, so it might be wise to put the energy bars in the glovebox or center console.
While it may seem paranoid or even a little crazy to pack such a detailed car safety kit, you’ll be infinitely grateful that you did if you or your family members should need to use it. Make sure your teen knows that it’s not a statement that you lack faith in his driving ability, but that you care deeply and want to make sure that he’s ready for anything.