Based on how much you've read and shared this story about travel and making memories, we are pretty sure your family will take at least one road trip with summer right around the corner. That's great, but when you're traveling by car, you need to prepare for mechanical problems. Whether you’re traveling near or far, make sure you’re well-prepared with an emergency kit containing the items below. 1. First aid kit Never leave home without one one. Having a first aid kit on-hand can make a big difference during accidents. Make sure yours contains an antiseptic solution, sanitizing wipes, bandages, gauze, infant paracetamol (with a medicine spoon or oral syringe), anti-diarrhea medication, and a pair of small scissors.
Have a copy of a list of emergency numbers somewhere in your car or saved on your phone as well. The Philippine national emergency hotline is 911. Find a list of other hotlines (including for the PNP, MMDA, NLEX and SLEX) here.
2. Car tool kit As with a first aid kit, every car needs an auto tool kit. Top Gear Philippines likes the Buffalo Auto Emergency Kit which you can get at Handyman stores for P1,200. The 29-piece set comes in a hardshell carrying case and includes jumper cables, a tire pressure gauge, screwdrivers, pliers, cotton gloves and more. You also need make sure you have a car jack and cross wrench with you. These are tools you'll need to change a flat tire and are must-haves for every first-time car owner, says Top Gear Philippines columnist Andy Leuterio.
3. Flashlight When your car breaks down in the middle of the night, a light source becomes invaluable. “Coupled with the jack and the cross wrench is the trusty flashlight,” says Leuterio. “Get a sturdy, high-power Maglite or something similar.” Consider a strap-on headlamp as well so you don't need your hands when attempting car repairs.
4. Food and water Depending on where you are, a breakdown can leave you stranded on the side of the road for a few minutes or hours. Having food around will keep your family’s energy up. Choose food that’s pre-packed, easy to open and non-perishable. Make sure it’s food that your kids will eat as well. Crackers, biscuits and dried fruit are great options. Keep these in a sealed container.
When it comes to water, it is a better idea to bring along new bottles for every road trip rather than storing water in your car for long periods. Research has shown that plastic water bottles exposed to heat may leak harmful chemicals into the drinking water. In a tropical country like the Philippines that has punishing summer days, it may be better not to take that chance.
5. Protective gear Don’t step out of a stalled vehicle in the middle of a busy road, says the American Automobile Association. You'e asking for a bigger accident. You're safer doing so on the road side. Be prepared for any weather condition. Have an umbrella stashed in your car to keep you dry when it rains, says Leuterio. For convenience, a rain coat will keep both your hands free. Because road trips are common in the summer, consider having sunblock in your emergency kit as well to prevent sun burn.
6. Extra tools You’ll need to stay visible to avoid collisions with oncoming traffic. Always have a reflective triangle stored in your trunk next to your spare tire. It’s an early warning device placed 10 to 20 feet behind a stalled vehicle to let other drivers know your car has broken down. At night, a high-visibility vest keeps you safe when working on your car.
Plus, have road maps in your glove compartment as well. They may be a little old-school, what with map apps at your fingertips, but they can be essential when even your phone is unreliable.
You can’t call for help if your phone is low on battery. Consider getting a car charger for your phone, which Leuterio also recommends. These are plugged into the lighter port and connects to your phone using your phone charger’s USB cable. It’s useful not just for emergencies, but everyday car rides as well. 7. Distractions Having your car break down can cause the kids to worry and make everyone feel a little panicked. While you wait for assistance to arrive, keep the kids’ minds on something else to keep them calm. Keep picture books, coloring books, travel-sized board games and puzzles in the car. They’re also useful when you’re stuck in the middle of traffic on the highway because everyone’s decided to travel home on the last day of the long weekend.