Preparing for the unknown is never an easy task. A crisis can happen at any time and it’s your job to know how to deal with it, no matter the circumstances. It requires a precise balance to achieve maximal preparedness with minimal product; some may even consider it an art.
A road trip is no exception to this rule. Whether you’re driving through the mountains or to visit family, it’s essential to be prepared for the worst. Relying on heavy machinery, traversing potentially dangerous terrain, getting lost, and sharing the road with other drivers all put you at risk of danger. It’s of the utmost importance to pack for your next road trip with thought and care; you never know what lies around the next corner
That’s why we’ve put together this list of the 5 ultimate road trip essentials to help you prepare for the unknown.
1. A well-stocked first aid kit
Accidents happen on the road, and a well-stocked first aid kit should be able to treat most non-life threatening medical issues. For more serious incidents that may require medical attention, a good first aid kit will be able to put a Band-Aid on it (forgive the pun) until you’re able to be treated by a doctor.
The basics of a good first aid kit include:
- Various wound dressings, including compresses, bandages, gauze, and cloth tape
- Antiseptic wipes and antibiotic ointment
- Non-latex gloves
- A breathing barrier with a one-way valve
2. A portable car jumper
In the event that your car battery dies at home or in a parking lot, it can be hard to find a good Samaritan willing to get your car started again. On long road trips through barren deserts or remote mountain roads, it can be hours before another car even passes you—let alone a car with someone kind enough to help.
That’s why a portable jump starter is an essential for road trip safety. You can get back up and running in minutes, rather than hours or even days. While portable jump starters were once clunky and rather enormous, modern day car jumpers aren’t much bigger than a bottle of water. Some even perform double duty, such as a portable jump starter & USB charger to keep your phone or tactical equipment fully charged, too!
3. A roadside safety kit
A disabled vehicle on a dark road without proper safety tools is a deathtrap. When driving long distance, it’s imperative to have a roadside safety kit with emergency signals, such as flares or reflectors. In the event of a breakdown, a roadside safety kit will enable other drivers to easily spot your vehicle and will signal to them to drive carefully. It will also help roadside assistance, such as a tow truck or emergency response team, to quickly find you and give you the help you require.
4. An emergency window breaker
In the case of an accident that’s more dangerous than a breakdown or fender bender, an emergency window breaker could mean the difference between life and death. Entrapment due to flooding or rollover accidents, or even accidentally locking a pet or baby in a car, can all lead to death—which can often be prevented by an emergency window breaker.
Emergency window breakers use either a spring loaded or static mechanism that allows you to easily break a car window and escape. There are pros and cons to each. Spring-loaded mechanisms don’t require the user to use any force, allowing anyone to use it regardless of strength or possible injury endured during the accident. On the other hand, there is a possibility of malfunction, which may render the item useless. Static punch window breakers require some force to use, but they’ll never fail.
5. Emergency food and hydration system
If car trouble during a road trip has you stranded for several days, you’ve got to be prepared with food and water. The human body can only survive about 3-4 days without proper hydration, and 3 days without food can send your body into starvation mode.
In case you’re ever stuck for several days, keep an emergency food and hydration system in your car. Rather than purchasing large jugs of water, which are not only large but can also begin to leak after only 6 months, opt for a filtration system. For food, Datrex bars are small, non-thirst provoking, and have a shelf life of 5 years.
No matter where you’re driving on your next road trip, you should always be prepared. A properly stocked car with lifesaving essentials will help keep you out of danger—or even save the life of a stranger in need.