Having what you need to respond to an emergency is important, but so are the tools to keep an emergency from happening in the first place. We’re going to cover a little of both: here are some often-forgotten essentials to keep your car and passengers as safe as possible when you’re out on the road.
You can add a small convex mirror to your existing driver’s side mirror, which allows a broader range of vision in your sightline when changing lanes. They’re also easy to install and very inexpensive, so definitely worth taking the time and investment to help prevent an accident.
Regularly checking your tire pressure can help you improve your car’s fuel economy and its ability to handle effectively, and also avoid flat tires. Having a portable tire pump with a built-in pressure gauge is a good choice. You can also get roadside combination kits with rechargeable and interchangeable batteries that come with bright flashlights. Those kits will also work and the batteries will work with other compatible tools—just make sure you remember to recharge the battery.
A portable, rechargeable battery booster is a great tool to have on hand. These devices used to be rather bulky, but they’re getting much more compact, so it’s a no-brainer having one charged up and ready to go when you need. You can also get a 4-in-1 tool that will charge your battery, read your tire pressure, inflate your tire, and has a built-in work light. These are a little more expensive, but are worth the money for more function in one tool.
In the unfortunate event of an accident, having flares, lights, and other signals can be essential to keep you safe while you wait for help. You can use these single-use flares that will burn for about 15 minutes, or you can invest in some rechargeable, ultra-bright LED warning lights that you can use more than once. Hopefully you’ll never have to use them, but having a light source is a good idea just in case.
Another useful tool is a reflective flag that you can use to signal other drivers if you’re carrying something larger than the parameters of your vehicle. This can also help prevent accidents and make transporting larger objects safer.
If you do find yourself in a situation that requires escape, a combination seatbelt cutter/window breaker is essential. There are a lot of these on the market, but remember that in an emergency you’ll want the tool to be within reach. There are keychain type combo tools that have a likelihood of staying within reach during a crash.
This is not intended to be a comprehensive list of everything you’ll need for every emergency, but can help you think through what you might need for safety in your vehicle. Every driver and every car is different, so the best tool to use to stay safe is your best judgment. For more safety information and for advice on the best roadside kits, you can check out your local DMV.