If you are involved in an accident, stranded on the side of a highway or in an unfamiliar neighborhood, you should always have certain comforts and tools to help get you back on the road faster. To help you all get started, I decided to create a list of the 5 things I always have in my car, regardless of where I am driving.
I always have water. Staying hydrated is critical to good decision making and staying calm under pressure. Some bottled water for my guests and a sports bottle for myself ensures that my guests and I are comfortable during our rides. It is a simple practice, but I know that my friends appreciate it. If we were to be involved in a collision somewhere we could not easily access water, I know that I can always share my water with anyone injured in the accident. Be sure to keep any water you have in your car free of contaminants.
I never leave my home without some source of navigation. For most drives, map applications on a phone will work or the navigation on a built-in car system. It is important to remember that these applications should be operated entirely hands free while driving. Many people have injured my clients while looking down to check their route or estimated time of arrival. If you are planning to go somewhere in which a wireless signal is out of range or you plan on off-roading, you may need to bring a dedicated GPS unit or a paper map to navigate.
In my car, there is always a roadside kit. My roadside kit has a flashlight, a small set stacking traffic cones and small socket wrench with adapters. Accompanying my roadside kit is my spare tire fitted with a tire jack and lug wrench. While I rarely have to use my roadside kit, I know that I have it ready when I need it.
As I’ve worked with 1000’s of victims injured in car accidents, I know the risks associated with driving. As such, I always drive with an accident kit stocked with first aid gear and a pen and notepad. The pen and notepad may seem outdated, but it is a great tool for recording witness statements. Contact information is most likely best saved in your phone for ease of access and recognition. Additionally, you can use a phone camera to take photos of the accident to document the scene. That said, if you do not know how to properly use your first aid gear, I would strongly recommend that you take a class. The knowledge gained during your first aid class may just save someone’s life.
The last thing I want to make sure that everyone has in his or her car is a maintenance log and owner’s manual. This should include all the work that has been performed on the car by yourself or a mechanic. If your car breaks down on vacation, you should want to show the mechanic working on your vehicle all the work that has been performed on your vehicle. The owner’s manual is fantastic resource to help you understand how your specific vehicle operates.
These items are a great start to ensuring you and your passengers’ safety on the road during regular drives as well as preparing for the worst such as a car accident.