You’ll find many of the things on this list to be stuff you never have to think about – until it’s all you can think about. Chances are, most of you driving on this cold winter Bellingham day will get to your destination safely and without delay. For those times when you might not, here is a list of essential items that can make emergencies a lot easier to handle.


Getting a jump takes about five minutes once you’ve found a friendly helper. If your car battery goes dead in a parking lot, it’s a lot easier to ask someone to jump start you than it is to call for a tow truck. Carry your own jumper cables to make things even easier. Just be sure to check your owner’s manual to be certain you’re doing it the right way. Ever wonder what might happen if you accidently hook up the cables wrong? It can be an expensive mistake.


Even the most fastidious car owner will spill something at some point. Keep a stock of baby wipes on hand in case your morning coffee tips over or your passenger gets carsick.


In an emergency (or on a summer road trip) having a stock of water in your car can keep you hydrated and healthy. It can also come in handy if your coolant tank springs a leak and your car begins to overheat. Just be sure to replace your drinking water every once in a while if your car gets really hot—some bottles can leach chemicals when overheated.


There’s no reason to go hungry in the car. Keep a few nonperishable snacks like granola bars, nuts, and dried fruit in the car to keep you going if you get stuck in traffic on the way to dinner.


You should always have at least a sweater stashed in your backseat. It will come in handy if the weather unexpectedly shifts. It’s also vital to have warm clothes or blankets in your car for those cold, rainy Bellingham nights even in the middle of a Pacific Northwest summer.


If your car gets stuck in the ice, snow, or mud, you can use kitty litter as a makeshift traction mat. Sprinkle it in front of the tires to give them better grip. Sand works, too, though you’re more likely to have cat litter on hand around the house. 


Keep a first aid kit with basics like bandages, gauze, disinfectant, scissors, tweezers, and gloves. While you’re at it, throw in a whistle and a flashlight, too. It’s always a good idea to have first aid training so you know what to do in an emergency. Get trained in first aid in case of a serious emergency like a car accident


It can be dangerous to drive without a pair of shades, especially when the sun is low on the horizon or when there’s snow to cast a glare. Don’t risk being blinded by the sunset or a really bright day.


You want to be able to use your cell phone in an emergency, so keep a portable charger on hand in case your battery goes dead. It’ll also come in handy during all manner of “emergencies,” whether that means a flat tire or not being able to check Google Maps for the nearest cup of coffee (which you would only do after pulling off the roadway and stopping in a safe location).


Need to clean up a bunch of trash from a weeks-old fast food runs? Suddenly realize your passenger gets carsick easily? Or just headed to the grocery store? Keep some bags—plastic, paper, and even reusable cloth totes—to clean up messes and carry goods to and from your car. Remember, they charge you in Bellingham for using a paper bag at the grocery store, and reusable totes are better for the planet.

Need help dealing with the aftereffects of a car accident, where your life was affected through someone else’s negligence? Let Bill Coats Law help you. With over twenty years’ experience, we help victims of drunk and distracted drivers. Contact us today.

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