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Car Emergency Kit Checklist

Auto Insurance

By Joanne Lemna | January 26, 2017

If you’ve lived in Canada for even a short time you probably understand why it’s a good idea to keep an emergency kit in your car. Between storms that close highways mechanical troubles long distances between gas stations and blown tires there are a lot of reasons you can be stranded on a roadside. With a country as big as this this can mean being many kilometres away from the nearest help and few people passing by.

If you do ever end up stranded make sure to stay calm and follow these steps:

  • Pull off the road onto a straight and level shoulder if at all possible. Curves and inclines are dangerous places to stop because of reduced visibility.
  • Put on your hazard lights  and turn on your interior lights if it is dark.
  • Assess the situation. Can you get going again on your own? Is it safe to carry out the work you need to do? Is there a safe spot for you to stand far away from traffic and accessed without crossing the road if you need to leave your vehicle?
  • Note your location . If you’re on a highway where is the nearest exit? Are there any notable landmarks? You may be able to use your phone or a GPS to get an exact location.
  • Call for help . Call for roadside assistance your family or friends or 911 if you are in a dangerous situation.
  • Fix the issue if you can. Be sure to perform work only if it is safe to do so and only work on the side of the vehicle that isn’t exposed to traffic. Be sure to make yourself as visible as possible. If you can’t fix it put your hood up to indicate you have a problem.
  • Depending on your situation you may need to make a decision about whether to leave your vehicle or stay with it . If you leave take a flashlight with you as well as the supplies you may need. Dress as brightly and as adequately as possible. If you decide to stay lock your windows and doors and don’t leave your engine running for a long time as you could be at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • If you accept help from a passerby get their contact information and leave a note in the car. Also inform friends or family of the name number and physical description of the person and their vehicle.
  • If at any time you feel threatened call 911 honk your horn and flash your lights.
  • There are a few things you should keep in your car to make sure you’re prepared for this kind of situation. While you obviously can’t keep every spare part and tool for every problem in your trunk you can have some basic things to get your car going. It’s also important that you be prepared to keep yourself and any passengers safe fed and warm for a short period. This is especially important in the winter and during inclement weather which can lead to a delay in roadside assistance response and serious health problems.

    Absolute Essentials Car Emergency Kit

    • List of relevant phone numbers
      • roadside assistance
      • family or friends you can contact for help
      • emergency service numbers
    • Basic first aid kit
      • Gauze pads (various sizes)
      • Gauze rolls (various sizes)
      • Bandages (various sizes)
      • Triangular bandage
      • Antiseptic wipes
      • Aspirin/ibuprofen
      • Antibiotic ointment
      • Hydrocortisone ointment
      • Tweezers
      • Cloth tape
      • Breathing barrier
      • Nonlatex gloves
      • First aid instruction booklet
    • Blanket
    • Water
      • At least a litre preferably more
    • Non-perishable food
      • 72 hours worth is ideal but make sure there’s enough to keep you and any passengers sated for a full 24 hours
      • I.e. power bars (better than plain granola bars from a nutritional and energy perspective) and canned food
      • Make sure you have the tools to eat whatever you have — a can opener and utensils may be helpful!
    • Socks
      • A spare set or two is always handy to have if your feet get wet or you need some extra warmth
    • Gloves or mittens
      • Gloves offer more dexterity but mittens offer more warmth
    • Hat
      • Choose a warm toque for winter and something to keep the sun off your face in the summer
    • Jacket
      • Bring a heavy winter jacket for cold weather and have a lighter waterproof jacket for the warmer months
    • Proper shoes
      • This is especially important if you’re wearing footwear that’s ill-suited for walking like heels or flip flops
      • I.e. a sturdy pair of runners or winter boots depending on the season
    • Jumper cables
    • Maps
    • Phone + charger
    • Flashlight + batteries
    • Scissors or knife

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