Prepare: The Emergency “Must Haves” to Put in Your Vehicle
In Arizona we're always ready for anything. We're stronger, tougher, and more independent than just about anywhere else. I like to think we're also more prepared.
Since the weather can change in a heartbeat, so it's always good to be ready for anything. Packing some emergency supplies in your vehicle can keep you and your family safe until help arrives.
The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) has advice on the most important items to keep in your vehicle so you'll be ready for anything. These items could make all the difference.
Prepare Your Vehicle for Anything
Always keep these items with you in case your vehicle is stranded in the ice, snow or the in the extreme summer heat.
Consider adding a fully charged, battery powered charger to your car, just in case your vehicle is disabled and you're unable to charge your device that way.
Keep at least two or three days' worth of needed prescription medications and pain relievers in your vehicle. Be sure to keep an eye on expiration dates and change them out often so they are effective when you need them.
A fully stocked first-aid kit is always a good choice. Be sure it's complete with fresh items. Nothing is worse than needing a bandage or a salve, only to find the Arizona heat has destroyed it.
Add a sturdy flashlight with extra batteries. Again, be sure to change the batteries often to ensure it works when you need it.
Consider road safety flares and battery-operated road signals, as well. They'll help rescuers locate you or help oncoming traffic see you if you're caught on the side of the road.
Some vehicles have tools, like a tire iron and jack, included. Add a travel tool kit and battery jumper cables.
A sturdy multitool is also a great thing to keep in your glovebox, and you'll use it for more than just emergencies.
Keep some plastic bags or containers for sanitation available.
Plus, pack some fresh, healthy snacks, especially those with lot of protein. Be sure to rotate these often to keep them fresh.
Always pack extra drinking water. If you keep the water in plastic bottles, make sure you change these often since the plastic can degrade, especially in the heat.
Finally, pack a good, old-fashioned road map. We rely heavily on the GPS service on our cell phones these days. You may need to save your battery as much as possible, so an analog map can help you figure out where you are.
Cold Weather Preparations
Take extra care when it's wintery. ADOT advises,
"Never drive into snowy, icy or cold conditions without a fully charged cell phone, drinking water and winter coats, warm blankets or both."
Consider keeping these items with you, as well:
- Blankets, gloves, scarves, caps and extra socks
- An ice scraper
- A small bag of sand (or kitty litter) for wheel traction
- A small folding shovel for snow removal
Don't Forget Your Tires
Be sure your tires are properly inflated, and don't forget to double check your spare tire. Check any tools you might need to change a tire are also in your vehicle in case you need to replace a tire on the roadside.
Not Sure? Turn Around and Seek Safety
Finally, the best advice in hazardous weather conditions is to turn around and seek safety if you're unsure of the conditions. Don't drive into hazardous weather, a flowing wash or street, and when conditions turn to rain or snow, slow down and use extra caution to arrive safely.