When you’re on the road, anything can happen, so taking steps to be prepared in the event of an emergency is key. Yahoo Finance spoke to Audra Fordin — owner of Great Bear Auto Repair Queens, N.Y., and the founder of Women Auto Know — to break down the essentials every driver should have on hand before hitting the road.
1. Screwdriver, matches, duct tape and twine
First off, Fordin recommends a set of tools that have a variety of uses: a screwdriver, duct tape, twine and matches. “They’re just necessities that should always be with you regardless of where you are, because they’re multipurpose,” she says. “If something falls off, or you need to put something on, these things are absolutely going to help you get it done.”
Why a screwdriver? “You can use it for prying, you could use it for unscrewing, and if something falls off or you need to change something on your vehicle, you’ll have a tool to be able to manipulate whatever it is that you need to get done,” Fordin says. “Duct tape, in case something falls down, you need to put it back up. You need twine if you have to tie something up. And then matches, really, for Girl Scouts. You just need matches in case you have to make a fire, in case you need heat.”
2. First-aid kit
Another essential item to keep in your car is a well-stocked first-aid kit. “I hope you never need it, but a first-aid kit is a priority,” she says. A properly outfitted kit should include adhesive tape, bandages, gauze, cotton swabs, hand sanitizer, disinfectant, rubber gloves and a first aid manual, among other items, according to the Mayo Clinic.
One item Fordin recommends having on hand that might not seem obvious is a pretty simple one: a pencil. When you’re out on the road, any number of scenarios can come up that involve needing to leave a note or write something down. Fordin recommends a pencil over a pen because of reliability. “A pen doesn’t always write in the cold. You’re guaranteed to be able to get something on that piece of paper if you have a pencil,” she says.
4. Jumper cables
Battery issues can strike anytime, and by keeping a set of jumper cables handy when you’re on the road you can help out your fellow drivers, too. “You should always have jumper cables in case you leave your car running, or your battery dies, or somebody next to you has a dead battery,” Fordin says. “You can be a hero and pull out your cables and get them started.”
5. Tire inflator
Finally, a spare tire with enough air in it is obviously a must-have, but savvy drivers will also have a can of Fix-a-Flat — or another tire inflator — in case of emergency. “Fix-a-Flat works so much easier, but it’s kind of gross,” Fordin warns. “So if you do put Fix-a-Flat in, please let your shop know because when we open up the tire to take it out, it’s like a volcano of green mess.”
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This story was originally published on November 16, 2018.