If you’re traveling in a region prone to extreme temperatures, flooding or perilous terrain, a breakdown can quickly go from an inconvenient delay to a life-threatening emergency. And remember that no matter where you are, severe weather can come without much warning. While you can’t always avoid a problem, you can take preparations to help reduce the risk of a disastrous outcome.
First Line of Defense: Cellphone Coverage
Having a working cellphone with extensive nationwide coverage is important. If your service works great in the city, but is spotty elsewhere, that could be a problem on the road. That phone is a literal lifeline to medical or rescue crews, so it’s worth buying a plan with a provider who “covers the map.”
But don’t count on your cellphone alone in the event of an emergency. You still may end up in a situation where you have to rely on yourself (and whatever you have on hand) if you’re outside of a coverage area or in such extreme conditions that emergency workers can’t reach you for an extended period of time. This is when a well-stocked emergency kit comes in handy.
There are many pre-packaged emergency kits available, but the contents and quality vary enormously. You may want to start with one of the pre-packs and add to it, or you can just get a large duffel bag and fill it with the items you need. This is a long list, but it can’t cover every need, so always assess your own situation and plan accordingly. Periodically inspect and replenish your supplies as necessary.
• Phone-charging cables
• Electrical tape and duct tape
• Heavy work gloves
• Crank-style flashlight (no worries about dead batteries)
• Solar cellphone charger
• Emergency battery booster (rechargeable battery to jump start your vehicle and supply 12-volt power and USB charging)
• Jumper cables
• First aid kit that includes things like: bandages, eye wash, medical gloves, scissors, tweezers, medical tape, antibiotic cream, burn cream and aspirin
• Spare tire (be sure to check your spare periodically)
• Tire-changing tools (if they didn’t come with your car)
• Can of tire sealant/tire plug kit
• Small fire extinguisher
• Replacement automotive electrical fuses (varying amperages that cover those in your car)
• Collapsible pail and shovel
• Basic mechanic toolkit with things like: hammer, flathead and Phillips screwdrivers, a quality multi-tool, and a variety of pliers and wrenches to suit your car’s fittings
• Survival knife (often comes with a compass and other gear)
• Packable rain ponchos and umbrella
• Warm clothing if traveling in the cold (coats, gloves, hats)
• Ice scraper/brush
• Reflective safety vest
• Reflective traffic warning triangles/flares
• Fuel siphon (use to remove fuel from someone else’s tank to add to yours when you run out)
• Small empty gas can
• Toilet paper
• Hand wipes and sanitizer
• Red plastic or cloth banner you can tie (or duct tape) onto your car antenna to mark the location of your car in a blizzard or to alert passersby that you need assistance
• Something you can put under your tires to get traction in sand, mud or snow (e.g. carpet strips, sand or non-clumping kitty litter)
• Enough water for all passengers in a container that can survive both high heat and freezing
• Enough emergency food for all passengers (non-perishable, calorie-dense items like energy bars or even MREs)
• Pet food and supplies
• Extra masks for all passengers
• Sturdy, comfortable hiking shoes
• Extra supply of any medications that anyone in your vehicle takes.
Way Off Grid
If you’re thinking about going on a road trip with long stretches of bad cell coverage or a campsite way off the grid for a while, you can rent a satellite phone for the duration of the trip. Satellite phones can get a signal where many cellphones can’t.
No matter how careful you are, you may someday find yourself in a situation. And that’s the worst time to learn that your auto insurance doesn’t provide the protection you thought it did — and where a premium policy with roadside assistance can really pay off. These responders can jumpstart a dead battery, change a tire or give you gasoline to get you back on the road. Beyond roadside coverage, some plans also offer travel interruption insurance and even pay for accommodations, meals and rental car coverage if your vehicle isn’t drivable.
Call your local We Insure agent today for a complimentary review of your existing auto policy. We’ll explain your coverage and even shop around to see if we can find you better coverage — or a lower price — from one of our many top-rated carriers.
We Insure wishes you safe travels.