Monday, September 17, 2012
Making a Car Emergency Box
September is Nation Preparedness Month. Because of this, it seemed like now would be a good time to talk about vehicle preparedness. Whether a vehicle is a bug out vehicle, just the car you take to work, or both, it is a good idea to have a car box.
What is a car box? It's kind of like a bug out bag for your car, and in fact it can and probably should include many of the items you would keep in a bug out bag as well. A car box should have all the supplies you would need in the event of an emergency.
The first things that you should put in your car are the tools you would need for various types of car breakdowns. The first and most obvious is the tools you would need for a flat tire: a working jack, a spare tire, a lug nut wrench or a tire iron and a perhaps a pipe for leverage. Most of these tools are likely already in the back of your car somewhere.
Now if you have a spare tire, you're going to find yourself on the side of the road. When you find yourself on the side of the road your going to want indicators to help people see you, especially if it is nighttime. Therefore in your car box you going to want reflective triangles, road flares or both. Keep in mind to check the road flares expiration date. Once they've expired there is a fair chance that they won't work, so those are something you'll want to keep up to date.
The next thing you'll want as part of your car box is the various fluids you use for you car. So you'll want 2 quarts of oil, a gallon of water and a gallon of antifreeze, brake fluid, power steering fluid, and automatic transmission fluid. Another thing you may want to include is coolant. Water will work as a quick fix if your radiator is leaking, however it can't hurt to have coolant as well.
For those who are living in the more northern latitudes another fluid to keep in mind is windshield wiper fluid. For those living in warmer climates, you just need water for your wiper fluid. In northern latitudes you need actual wiper fluid. It is blue because it has antifreeze in it to prevent it from freezing in your car and on your windshield.
Another necessary tool to have is jumper cables. Not only can they come in handy for you, but for other stranded motorists as well if you come across them. It is surprising how many people don't keep these in their cars. Besides jumper cables it can be a good idea to keep some basic tools in your car box as well such as screwdrivers (both flat and phillips), pliers, and an adjustable wrench.
Along with your tools you may want to have some work gloves to protect your hands while you work on something. A flashlight or a headlamp is also a good addition in case you end up working on your car in the dark. A gas can is also a good item to keep in your car, so if you run out of gas you can at least hike to the nearest gas station to fill up your container. Other options for things you can keep in your kit would duct tape, spare fuses, and a roadside emergency card.
Now in your car box you also want items for yourself as well. If you get broken down on the side of the road, you may not be able to fix your car, and even if you can get in contact with a tow company it may take hours for them to get to you. So you will want to have a few basic supplies for yourself as well. Some good basics to have would be a couple of bottles of water and some kind of snack food. Remember just like anything in a survival pantry, a survival cache, and your road flares, you will want to keep an eye on the expiration dates. Another good thing to include is a first aid kit in the event of cuts or scrapes, even from just fixing your car, or to help in the event of an accident.
You'll also want to keep a blanket, and perhaps even a small pillow. For those of you living in northern latitudes, you will want to have more extensive supplies in the even that you get stranded in cold weather. Having hats, gloves and scarfs are essential. You will also likely want more extensive survival gear as well in the car. At least enough supplies to last a few days. This is because you may not find yourself stranded on the road due to car problems, but due to winter weather like a blizzard. If that is the case then you could find yourself stranded not for hours, but for days.
A car box is fairly simple to put together and is well worth having when you run into trouble on the road. It may be the only thing in your car or it can be used in conjunction with other survival supplies to help make a bug out vehicle. Whether your trying to get to your bug out location or trying to get to work, if you run into car trouble, this box will be worth having. It could even save your life.