So there I was, stranded, hungry, freezing, stuck in a stalled car on the side of the road, with the line of cars on the two lane road moving so slowly, help wouldn’t reach me for at least an hour even if I was their first stop.
I knew it was going to be bad when I looked out the office window and saw 2 inches of snow already on the ground and coming down fast. This California girl had hardly even seen snow, let alone driven up and down the hills of the still unfamiliar Seattle streets in the dark to get home from work. But by the time my boss let me leave (“I’m from Chicago, this is nothing!,” he’d assured me all afternoon) the sun was down and the traffic was bad. I slowly made it down one hill and around the corner and into the line of cars headed towards home, when the dashboard started flashing and the car stalled…
By the time help arrived and got me home, I had big plans to assemble a box of supplies for the car so that if this ever happened again, at least I’d have the things I needed to keep me comfortable.
That’s the inspiration for the emergency kit in the back of the car. It has all the things that I would have wanted that night when I was stalled – dry socks, paper towels, snacks – along with other things that seemed like they would be useful in various situations. Its all sorted and packed in gallon-sized ziplock bags, keeping everything from being a jumbled mess when you’re looking for something, and is stored in a sturdy zippered fabric storage box. What I like about this box is that it stays put – the lid keeps the contents in place while being very easy to open, and the fabric gives friction that prevents it from sliding around in the trunk.
The kit rides around in the back of the car all the time and has proven to be very useful. Although we haven’t had too many true emergencies, even in small “emergencies” (like a pot of coffee spilling out in the back seat) we’ve been very glad to have a supply of paper towels, rags, and garbage bags at our fingertips.
I made a card to keep in the kit – a checklist with instructions for setting up the kit on one side, and an emergency help sign on the other (hey, you don’t need it till you need it, right?). And because I don’t want any of YOU to be stranded, hungry and freezing on the side of the road in a stalled car, I’m making the card available for you as a free download. Print out the .pdf and you’ll have everything you need to make your own car emergency kit. (See the card in action in the photos below)