Road Trip Essentials

There are certain things you should carry in your car to deal with an emergency while on the road.
     Print Edition: May 2013

Road trips are an adven-ture, be it a weekend getaway to clear your head or a cross-country trek to explore the world. The freedom of the open road is a feeling like no other for many. But, it takes great planning to hit the road and leave the safety of your comfortable home behind you.

No matter where you're head-ing, make sure to carry an emer-gency kit. Essential supplies can save your life if you get stranded for a few hours or even a few days. It's worth the cost and time investment.

Treat it as your travelling insurance and, just like most insur-ance in life, you will probably never have to use it and be glad of it. Here is a complete checklist of some essentials you would have liked to have had when you were faced with an emergency on the road.

First aid kit
This is a must. First aid supplies are essential in an emergency kit. If you're planning a road trip, a comprehensive first aid kit will help treat common injuries.

Jumper cables
It doesn't take too much to drain your car's battery. Leave the lights on during the day or for an extended night drive and you could find yourself running empty. So, keep jumper cables handy. And, it works both ways. You might need it yourself or you could help out a stranded driver. But, make sure you know how to do it right. So, go ahead and Google 'how to jump start a car' now. Seriously.

Puncture repair kit
It would be better for you to fix a minor tyre puncture temporarily using a tyre sealant, such as Fix-a-Flat, to plug the hole and drive on to find a repair shop. You could also try a repair kit such as the Slime Smart Spair, which includes a sealant and a handy inflator. It'll be enough to seal the hole and inflate tyres to normal pressure. The kit is a portable solution for flat tires and will save you the hassle of replacing a flat in the middle of the road.

Tool kit
Having a simple tool kit in an emergency kit is a great idea. A multipurpose knife, a roll of duct tape, screwdrivers and spare fuses are invaluable. Duct tape can help reattach a broken rear view mirror or even secure a hanging bumper until you get to a mechanic.

Make sure to keep some food that won't spoil. You can try canned fruits or vegetables, energy bars or biscuits, dried fruits or even a few bars of chocolate. Also keep pack-aged fruit juice or a juice mix to give you easily absorbed glucose.


People can survive a couple of days without food, but your body needs water every few hours. Dehydration can cause organ failure. It is also useful to wash wounds or to cool an overheated engine. Be it summer or winter, it's a good idea to stock up on a few kegs of water before a long journey. There's nothing like no access to water to work up a desperate thirst. Blame it on Murphy's Laws.

Winters are great for road trips. The climate is enjoyable, plenty of holidays and travellers are encour-aged to visit. But it can go very wrong if you're stranded mid-jour-ney in the cold for repairs. Along with food and water, you'll also need to stay warm. So, when travel-ling in the cold months, carry blan-kets and sleeping bags. It is worth the extra space consumed and will save you from running the car's heater, emptying the battery.

Solar-powered LED flashlights are easily charged and very reliable. They're compact, strong and prove incredibly useful, be it to retrieve loose change you dropped between the seats or to rifle through your boot in the dark. Of course, a larger, crank flashlight will also work just fine. Keep the flashlight easily accessible in your glovebox. Store the batteries separately as, over time, batteries can corrode and lose their juice. You could also keep a spare set.

Cellphone charger
Most of us can't think of going a day without using our phones. So, carry a charger along so that you'll have the option of making an emergency call. You can also include a battery-powered charger into your kit, which will provide extra power for your phone even if the car's battery runs out.

Pepper spray
When women are travelling alone, it's worth the effort to be a little cau-tious. Keep a can of pepper spray in your bag or the glovebox. It's legal in India and easily available. The most convenient size to carry would be one about the size of a lipstick with a range that varies from 6-10 feet.

Courtesy: Auto Bild India

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