If you’ve never broken down in your car, consider yourself one of the lucky ones. But keep in mind luck has a tendency to run out, usually at the most inopportune times. Winter months and dark country roads seem to be when Lady Luck takes her vacation. Cold weather, road salt and mud, ice and slush can all cause a plethora of surprises, even if you take care of you car. Be prepared.
The first thing you need to understand and accept is that this can happen to you. Don’t allow yourself to fall into that false sense of security that it won’t because you take your car to the shop for all its maintenance check-ups right on schedule. That’s hogwash. Sure, as long as you keep the car on clean roads in mild weather you can be relatively confident you won’t get stuck. But that’s not reality for most Americans. We’re a nation of active people who go places and do things with our cars.
Before we get into the list of what to always keep in your trunk or back of your SUV, here are a few scenarios of what can go wrong that might cause you to get stuck and have to wait for help. First, there are the traditional challenges such as flat tires, engine overheating, running out of gas, or an electric failure. You may be able to fix or prevent some of these things yourself; others will require you to wait for help. All will have you stranded by the roadside for at least an hour.
Next are weather-related problems such as running off the road on slippery roads, an accident, windows too dirty to see through, mud sucked up into your engine, heavy rain, blizzard, tornado; weather that would force you off the road until it passes. Any one of these situations could detain you for hours.
Most of these things are preventable, however, impossible to predict. Think back into your own driving history or that of someone close to you. Has this happened to you or them? [Full Story]