Man wearing a headlamp, checking his car tire.

Picture this: You’re driving home late at night when you suddenly feel a tug at the steering wheel. It’s a flat tire. You don’t have a spare, so you call roadside assistance. They’re on their way, but it’s going to be at least two hours.

Chances are, you might have experienced this or something similar. According to a study conducted by Agero, a leader in driver assistance services, in 2019 there were close to 70 million vehicle breakdowns in the U.S. While you can’t predict them, you can prepare with a reliable emergency kit to ensure you’re safe and comfortable while waiting for professional assistance.

Build your car emergency kit. Customize your own emergency kit to match your environment, car, and typical commute to be prepared for any emergency. Your shopping list can include a first-aid kit, non-perishable food, extra clothes and blankets, a heated windshield scraper, salt for melting ice, a flashlight, small reflective triangles, a spare tire, a tire gauge, a fire extinguisher, a small knife to cut seatbelts if necessary, and a small portable lithium-ion battery with jumper cables.

 

Make safety a priority

When a roadside emergency strikes, keeping you and your passengers safe and comfortable is the first priority. First-aid, food, and appropriate clothing to keep everyone warm and dry can make all the difference.

Start with a standard first-aid kit (make sure it includes bandages, gauze, disinfectants, medical tape, etc.)  to ensure you can treat any minor injuries.  Stock up on non-perishable snacks like trail mix and water to stave off the threat of getting hangry at roadside assistance. And make sure to keep blankets, extra jackets, an umbrella, and other rain gear in the car in case you have to leave the vehicle.

Pro Tip: Additional safety precautions like a fire extinguisher and a small knife (to cut seatbelts if necessary) can ensure you’re prepared for every situation.

Know your vehicle’s needs

When assembling your vehicle’s emergency kit, it’s important to consider the age and condition of your car and tailor your tools from there. It’s also important to think about your driving patterns and the weather of the region you live in. For example, if you often experience snow or freezing rain and your slightly older car doesn’t have an external warming feature like newer models, it’s smart to include warming tools like a heated windshield scraper or even a large bag of salt to help melt ice, and carrying a small, portable, lithium-ion battery with jumper cables can also be helpful in case you car’s battery stalls due to dropped temps.

Pro Tip: Another great way to protect your vehicle is with a  protection plan that covers your vehicle for a wide array of emergencies like Ally’s Premier Flex Coverage.

Prioritize visibility

If you find yourself in a roadside dilemma at night, a simple flashlight can make any task easier. Additionally, reflective triangles are an essential component of night-time car safety when handling a roadside emergency. It’s easy to be overlooked by larger vehicles when light is limited. If you’ve ever pulled over to the side of the road to fix a flat tire, you know it can be a dangerous undertaking. Reflective triangles help alert oncoming traffic to your presence. Flares are also a great way to caution drivers well in advance.

Prepare to prevent

It’s important to react to an emergency with the proper equipment after it happens, like having a spare tire in the event of a blowout. But it’s also helpful to take preventative steps to get ahead of catastrophes, too. For example, it’s always smart to check the tire pressure on your tires with a portable tire gauge (tucked in your glove compartment) before you head out on a long drive. If your vehicle is a bit older and doesn’t provide regular health reports via dashboard alerts, this is a great way to get a heads up in advance.

Build the right kit for you and your family

As we all continue to return to the roads, it’s safety first (as always). Having a well-stocked emergency kit along for the ride is a great way to do just that. With a little bit of intuition and research, you can equip yourself to be prepared for whatever happens on the road ahead.

Ensure you’re prepared for any unexpected incidents with the ultimate emergency tool, Ally Auto’s Vehicle Protection.

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