An emergency checklist from Consumer Reports
The key to taking an enjoyable family car trip is to be prepared for the unexpected. Start by keeping a road emergency kit in your vehicle year around.
Here's a checklist of basics to include from Consumer Reports:
â˜ Mobile phone
â˜ First-aid kit
â˜ Fire extinguisher
â˜ Warning light, hazard triangle or flares
â˜ Tire gauge
â˜ Jack and lug wrench
â˜ Foam tire sealant or a portable compressor and plug kit
â˜ Spare fuses
â˜ Jumper cables or portable battery booster
â˜ Flashlight (check and replace batteries)
â˜ Gloves, hand cleaner, clean rags
â˜ Auto club card or roadside assistance number
â˜ $20 in small bills (Tell your kids this is an emergency fund, NOT for buying ice cream!)
â˜ Pen and paper
For longer car trips, especially through remote areas, add these to your kit:
â˜ Basic tools: Include a set of socket and open-end wrenches, multi-tip screwdriver, and pliers.
â˜ Coolant hose repair kit and tape: Available at any major auto-parts store.
â˜ Extra clothes and small tarpaulin: Even if all you do is change a tire, you'll have a change of clothes.
â˜ Water and nonperishable emergency food: Bring enough for at least a meal, more for when traveling through remote areas or in extreme hot/cold regions.
â˜ CB radio: For when your route takes you through areas where cellular service is spotty.
â˜ GPS: Optional, but good-to-have when traveling to new places.
[Union Plus Motor Club costs less than AAA and includes a long list of 24/7 emergency roadside assistance benefits. Just $69/year covers your entire household. Enroll online.]
For more consumer tips, special reports and independent product ratings, subscribe to ConsumerReports.org. Use your Union Plus discount and pay just $22/year (reg. $30).