Winter adventures are particularly alluring, especially for off-road drivers, but you have to make sure you have all of the right equipment before setting out on a trip. It doesn't matter if you're traveling great distances on the highways or checking out off-road locations close to home - you need to have a properly stocked emergency kit. Having the right tools can be a major help in different circumstances, particularly in the cold-weather months, and some select items may be especially important.
State Farm recently conducted a study to determine what drivers need, as well as what they have stored in their vehicles. While about 96 percent of people had at least one of the items deemed important, only about 5 percent had all of them. Instead of keeping useless junk in an off-road vehicle, consider investing in some of the most helpful articles.
"Even on a relatively short trip, you can find yourself stranded for several hours," said John Nepomuceno, an auto safety research administrator from State Farm. "Whether it's because of a flat tire, an empty fuel tank or treacherous conditions like ice or fog, it's important to be prepared. These new findings highlight the importance of having the right emergency equipment so you can safely get back on the road sooner."
Essential emergency items
State Farm recommended that drivers of all kinds keep a few important tools stored in their vehicles in case of emergency. Among the most essential objects are flashlights, a spare tire, jumper cables, a first-aid kit, a windshield scraper and road salt. In the event you have to conduct some type of maintenance or repair on-the-go, you should also have things like a tarp, which can be used for sitting or kneeling on and is especially handy when driving across snow or ice, as well as a hazard triangle or road flares, which can alert others to your presence.
Your responsibilities don't stop at simply keeping the emergency equipment in your vehicle. The items also need to be checked periodically to ensure they are in good working condition. Only about 38 percent of drivers say they inspect their emergency kit at least twice a year, but can be extremely helpful to monitor the condition throughout the year. It is also a good idea to refresh a store of batteries, water bottles, nonperishable items and extra clothing or blankets. All of these objects are beneficial to drivers who may be stranded for a prolonged period of time.
For off-road driving
When you go off-roading, there's a good chance you'll need a few specialized tools in addition to the same emergency items as a standard driver. For instance, while the average driver may be able to rely on the spare tire that comes along with a vehicle, you may have to take extra steps to accommodate this need. Anyone who has installed a lift kit may have also invested in larger off-road tires, and you could need a more refined spare tire on hand.
You should also keep in mind that you may have to rearrange some of your storage options when placing the important tools in a vehicle. Although many might be inclined to put these items in a storage box on the bed of a truck, for example, there may be a few pieces that you'll want to have a bit closer. For example, things like de-icer or a flashlight should be placed in a glove compartment, where you can quickly access them.