Could your family survive being stuck in your car for hours on end?
Go sit in your car and picture it – your whole family in the car and it’s been four hours since you have been able to move the vehicle amidst all the traffic. The weather outside is awful, so no one wants to get out of the car, either.
It happened here in Ohio. It rained and rained and rained and water suddenly rushed across the eight lanes of I-70, trapping people on the highway for six hours.
- What about the mom who didn’t pack the extra bottle?
- What about the dad who had the ingredients for dinner?
- What about the teenager who didn’t have any water or food in her car?
- What about the man who’s next round of medication was waiting at home?
- Would I be ready if I had gotten caught in that traffic mess?
Thinking about this scenario is a good place to start for having an emergency kit in your car. A few hours could easily be made more bearable by just having food, water, something for entertainment, a light source, and supplies for babies and medications. Watching gas levels is a good idea, too. Many people (myself included) try to keep gas tanks at least half filled all the time. You would hate for the traffic jam to free up and then run out of gas while getting out of there.
I used to think about getting stuck in my car a lot with little children when we lived in Alaska. Driving from Anchorage to Wasilla, there is only one highway. Our worst-case scenario was having an earthquake hit during a heavy snowfall. I made sure I had enough food, water and supplies for 2-3 days in case we were stranded on the highway. I also made sure we had blankets and warm clothing so we wouldn’t have to keep the van on the whole time – both to conserve gas and to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Fortunately, the worst thing we saw while we were there was the 2-hour traffic jam due to state fair traffic. We were glad for the almost full gas tank during that trip.
Another important consideration is bathroom facilities, or lack thereof. Keep a roll or two of toilet paper handy, take a look at the Go Girl, and if you have young kids, especially, keeping a small potty chair in the trunk is a great idea, and something most adults could use, in a pinch. Add some hand sanitizer, waste bags, and Clorox wipes for good measure. A box of kitty litter would be helpful to keep down odors and include a travel size bottle of Stain & Odor Remover from Kids’n Pets as well.
By the way, if using a potty chair just strikes you as wrong, check out these other possibilities:
So, grab a pen and notepad and take 15 minutes to go assess your car – what do you need to have in there if you and your family where stuck for hours? Then, make sure to do something about that as soon as you can!
Report back here – what do you need to add to your car’s emergency kit?