According to experts in the car insurance industry, the average American files a collision claim once every 17.9 years. This means that the average American driver will be involved in 3-4 accidents in the course of their life. If you’re averaging fewer accidents than this, consider yourself lucky!
However, knowing that being in a car accident is a statistical likelihood for all drivers, you should take appropriate precautions at every opportunity. One of the easiest ways to do this is to prepare a roadside emergency kit that you can keep in your car if (and when) an accident does occur.
What Goes in a Roadside Emergency Kit?
From taking care of your car to taking care of yourself, there are a few easy-to-acquire items that should go in any roadside emergency kit.
Accidents happen at all times of the day and night and in all kinds of weather. In fact, bad weather contributes to an increase in car accidents in the first place, so you need to be prepared to deal with the elements should you be in an accident when conditions outside are less than ideal. A warm blanket can help you deal with both the cold and any residual shock you’re experiencing from your crash, making you more comfortable while you talk with authorities and anyone else involved in the wreck.
Sure, everyone has a camera on their phone these days but we’ve all been in situations where we’re suddenly down to 5% battery life and there’s not a phone charger in sight. And somehow, these moments seem to occur when we need our phones the most! Don’t take any chances—just keep a disposable camera in your car at all times so that you’re guaranteed to be able to take accident pictures when you need them.
This one is obvious—in the immediate wake of an accident, you and any other accident victims could be suffering from a range of injuries, and having a basic first-aid kit with you can go a long way towards making you more comfortable and keeping injuries from getting any worse.
Flares / cones / triangle reflectors
A major threat facing accident victims is the risk of a secondary accident from an oncoming car that’s not expecting to see one or more vehicles stopped in or on the side of the road—especially at night. To help notify other drivers to your presence and minimize the chances of making an already bad situation worse, invest in some road flairs, traffic cones, or triangle reflectors to increase your visibility.
You never know where and when an accident will occur, and if you’re stuck out on a poorly lit stretch of road at night, you’re going to want more than the dinky flashlight app on your phone to help you navigate this situation. Make sure you’re ready for any scenario by keeping a powerful flashlight with extra batteries in your roadside emergency kit.
Working through the aftermath of an accident can take minutes for some wrecks, and hours for others. If you’re stuck waiting on emergency personnel, tow trucks, or a safe ride home, make sure you’ve got something to snack on in case you or someone else gets hungry. Stocking your emergency kit with things like nuts or granola bars is a good idea since they’ll stay fresh for a long time.
While jumper cables might not be able to prevent an accident from happening in the fist place, if you find yourself stranded with a dead battery, you’ll be glad to have these on hand. Additionally, if you run across someone else who needs help jumping their battery, you’ll be prepped to swoop in like a hero.
Pen and paper
Taking detailed notes of what happened right before, during, and after a car accident is essential when it comes time for you to talk to insurance companies or in the event that you end up filing a lawsuit. Just like you can’t count on your phone to always be charged for picture taking purposes, you can’t always trust that you’ll be able to use your phone’s note-taking capabilities either. Keep some old fashioned pen and paper on hand so that you can write down accident details, witness names and phone numbers, and the names, numbers, and insurance information of anyone else involved in your wreck.
Sometimes all you’re left dealing with after an accident is a little tire damage. But if you don’t have a usable spare with you, you’re going to end up having to spend a lot more money than is necessary calling for a tow. As such, keep a spare tire in your car at all times, and check the tire pressure on it once a month to make sure it’s properly inflated.
The aftermath of a car accident is often a dizzying, frantic time—you’d be surprised how quickly you can work up a thirst in these conditions. Having some bottled on water for yourself and others is a huge help, and this is magnified if an accident happens during one of the hotter parts of the year.
However you choose to assemble your roadway emergency kit is up to you. Whether you throw these items in a cardboard box or a cute bag, make sure you have these things on hand and check your kit every so often to make sure you’re not low on any necessary supplies. In the event that you are in an accident, you’ll want the right team on your side fighting to uphold your rights and interests. Here at Chenkin Law Firm, we’re no strangers to the unique needs of Houston car accident victims, and we’re ready to fight against anyone who is keeping you from getting the support you need after a crash. Call us today at (800) 721-7472 and let us get to work.