Dollar Store Haul: Create a $10 Emergency Car Kit
It was just two weeks ago when the heart of Atlanta was paralyzed by what’s been dubbed many things – “Snowmageddon”, “Snowpocalypse”, “Snow Jam” and “South Parked”. Well played, late night comedians. In fact, there are still dozens of horror stories being recounted around the water cooler right here at Apartment Guide’s metro Atlanta headquarters.
Well, here we go again. A severe winter weather alert has already been issued across the South as far west as Houston, TX and stretching past Atlanta up into northeastern Virginia. A healthy mix of rain, sleet, snow and ice are to be expected. And apparently it’s going to be even more of a whammy than last time.
We cannot control dear old Mother Nature, but we can prepare for her wrath. Thousands of drivers were stuck in their cars for hours on end without the essentials that would have made the ordeal a tiny bit less exasperating. Let’s be honest – an emergency car kit isn’t something you really think about until after you need it. And, as we vividly recall here in Atlanta, even the trusty roadside assistance service you pay for might not always be able to swoop in and save the snow-filled day.
So to help you get ready for another roadside mishap, we took a trip to the dollar store and gathered some potentially life-saving items that will come in handy if you ever find yourself stuck in your car for an extended period of time.
Reminder: Each item pictured here cost just $1.00!
A box of tissue
Or napkins. Or paper towels.
Sharpie or thick, dark marker
In case you need to write a “Save me!” message to display in your window.
Toothbrush and toothpaste
Because no one wants to greet their rescuer with 2-day old breath.
Water will come in handy not only to prevent dehydration, but also to brush your teeth or wash your face and hands.
Having your phone go dead when you’re stranded is seriously one of the worst feelings ever. Spare yourself this nightmare and invest in a cheap car charger. Tip: If you work on a computer all day, keep a USB cord in the office to keep your phone charged throughout the day.
Sorry, this is no time to make a fashion statement. Bandanas (or any bright cloth or scarf) will be helpful if you need to catch the attention of passersby. Tie it to your antenna or hang it outside of your window, door or trunk. If you’re really desperate, wave it like a flag until someone sees you.
First aid kit
Usually complete with Band-Aids and the like, you’ll be prepared in case of any minor injuries.
Apple sauce may not be your preferred snack, but you’ll need something to hold you over until help arrives. Individually wrapped, nonperishable snacks are ideal.
Flashlight (batteries included)
If you end up stranded at night and you’re having trouble seeing, save your cell phone battery and use a flashlight instead. This can also be used to catch the attention of passersby.
And all of this for a grand total of $9.46.
A quick search around your apartment could easily uncover more items to add to your emergency car kit. Do you have any of this stuff?
- A notebook or paper – To write notes on with the Sharpie
- A list of important phone numbers – In case your phone dies
- Knife – Use it as a weapon or to quickly cut your seat belt
- An old blanket and/or large towel – To keep warm if running your car engine is not an option
- Extra set of clothes, thick socks and comfortable walking shoes – In case you need to ditch the car and hike to your destination
- Personal items such as chapstick, lotion and sanitary products – To maintain some sense of normalcy
Here’s another way to use an old blanket – wrap up everything you bought and keep it in the trunk!
If you want the ultimate emergency car kit, there are items you’ll probably end up having to pay for, but the expense will be totally worth it. Consider adding the following to your shopping list:
- Foam tire sealant – A quick fix for a flat tire
- Jumper cables – Keep in mind these may not do you any good if you don’t know how to use them
- Rain poncho
- Ice scraper
- Batteries – AA and AAA are the most commonly used
Tip: If buying all these individual items is too much work, there are pre-packaged kits you can get for anywhere between $20 to $100 or more.
Have you ever been stranded in your car? What item(s) did you wish you had?
Photo credits: Apartment Guide’s Tiffany Maberry and Flickr Creative Commons / William Brawley