becoming obsessed falling in love with the DIY natural lifestyle, I realized that it had applications far beyond my home. Like my car. Well, I suppose that’s not too far from my home, but still. I quickly realized that with all of the time I spend in my car, it would be wise to assemble a DIY road safety kit.
And I can’t tell you how many times it’s come in handy (especially as owners of older VW vans – they tend to require special attention).
Our road safety kit has changed a little over the years and it’s personalized to our family of six. However, anyone can put together their own kit that can help you (or others) during emergency or other unplanned situations.
We keep most of our stuff in a small crate that my husband divided into sections with some spare plywood. Other items are tucked under our back seats and our spare clothing gets its own box.
Here’s a look at our road safety kit:
Oil (and accessories)
Like I said, older VW vans… We like to keep a quart on hand at all times, along with a funnel and rag to use when we check the oil.
Windshield Washer Fluid
We live in a rural area and we always seem to have dust on our windshield, so I’ve found it helpful to keep spare wiper fluid in the car. I used to buy it, but now I use this easy homemade windshield washer fluid recipe. It’s so easy and takes just a few minutes to make.
We have four small children (and one is potty training), so I keep a spare change of clothes for them in my car at all times. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve pulled stuff out, either due to accidents, spills or a sudden change in weather (that happens a lot where we live). Traveling with kids is an adventure in itself.
These clothes stay in a small plastic tote and I try to include layers that will work no matter what season. It includes one spare for each child:
- Pants (leggings for the girls as they take up less space than jeans)
- Rain coat
If it’s a season where we’ll encounter lots of mud, I’ll throw some boots in the trunk. During winter I keep hats and gloves in the car for the whole family as well as a sweater for my husband and I.
Just remember to restock the box if you use something.
I am sadly familiar with approaching random people in parking lots to ask if they’ll jump my car. (My kids haven’t grasped the concept of shutting doors yet, which leaves on a battery-draining light – I’m not selling VW vans well, am I?)
People are more apt to help if you have jumper cables.
These are mainly used for checking oil or to wipe things up when we change fluids. We have a few extras in the front of the car for little noses.
Homemade Cleaning Wipes
These homemade cleaning wipes are really handy to have around, especially with little kids. Or adults who tend to spill coffee in the car…
We keep a gallon of water in the car at all times. It either gets used for drinking when our water bottles are empty and we don’t have a water source, or for topping off the radiator (that’s where water goes, right?).
Do you know what’s fun? Digging your car out of the snow with a cast iron Christmas tree stand because that’s the only tool you have. Ok, no, it’s not fun.
Which is why I bought a folding snow shovel last year. So much easier to do things with the right tools.
First Aid Kit
This stays readily accessible in the car so we don’t have to dig for it in the case of an emergency. Or nosebleed. Or owie. Check out what I keep in my natural DIY First Aid Kit.
We live near mountains and have to cross them to visit most of our family members. We’ve run into snow as late as May, so we keep chains in the car a good part of the year.
Make sure you do a practice-run before you have to use them. It makes things much easier. And don’t forget to drive slow – my brother learned the hard way once that chains can do some serious damage to your car if you drive too fast with them on.
We’re actually quite fond of headlamps, which make putting chains on in the dark much easier. If you don’t have those, though, a couple of small flashlights are great to have on hand, as well as spare batteries.
You don’t need a giant assortment, but a small bag with a few key tools (and other items) can be very helpful. Especially if you have an older VW van… Here’s what we like to keep in our tool bag:
- Duct tape
- Bungee cords
- Socket wrench set
- Screwdrivers – Philips and flat head
- Zip ties
This is another seasonal item. Choose warm blankets that fold up nice and small – wool is great.
Remember, this list is specific to our family of six (and not-so-reliable van), so personalize as needed.
Do you have a roadside safety kit? Would you add anything to this list?