It’s the holiday season, and that means gift buying galore. Some people (like my mom) love to shop all day. Others (like me) would rather spend a few hours at the dentist. That means I try to think outside the gift box at this time of year, in order to avoid the malls and shopping frenzy.
I’m also challenged by children and stepchildren who are now young adults and teens, making them hard to buy for without a bottomless bank account. These factors combined mean I am leaning towards car safety kits as this year’s gift for all—and by all, I’m including my mother and my husband (and myself) on this list.
Writing about home security and personal safety has made me much more aware of all the risks I was ignoring before, but I also see the people around me are ignoring the same risks. My oldest, an Eagle Scout, used to say, “Expect the best, but prepare for the worst,” and I think my family has done a better job at the former than the latter! I want to remedy that this year, at least as far as car travel goes.
Although I could go out and buy such car safety kits for everyone (as they are readily available and quite affordable for everything you get!), I would prefer to put together kits that are specific to the kinds of driving each one of my loved ones does. For example, my husband has a horribly long commute, and he has literally been stuck on the freeway for hours with nothing to eat or drink. That happened this summer, on a sweltering day, and he was miserable, hot and thirsty and could do nothing about it. Traffic was at a standstill due to an accident. I want to make sure he has a good supply of food and water in case that happens again. Or consider my youngest, who travels a back road to and from town (as do I), with no shoulder to the road and poor cell phone coverage: I want to make sure she has reflective equipment should something happen to her car while driving that road.
If you like the idea of a car safety kit as a gift, and you would rather customize yours as well, below are some ideas to consider. I’m including some items I’ve learned to have on hand the hard way, like walking shoes. (Breaking down on the side of the road with only a pair of high heels is not fun!) I’m also including extra clothes because sometimes one leaves the house during the warmth of the day, but ends up traveling home during the cold of night, another lesson learned the hard way.
- Powerful flashlight
- Emergency food and water
- Blanket or solar blanket
- Rain poncho
- Coat, hat and gloves
- Walking shoes
- Jumper cables
- Flares or other reflective device
- First aid kit
- Cash for gas
- Hand wipes
- Pocket knife
- Hand warmers
- Folding shovel
- Rags or old towels
- Chains or cables for snow
I am basing this list on help being available and waits for that help being short. If someone were traveling a longer distance, say doing an extensive road trip up and over the mountains for example, they might need more than these basics to be prepared. But for this holiday season, I just want to make sure everyone on my list is safe and equipped every day, on their daily commutes and weekend jaunts.
As the title of this post says, I’m giving the gift of safety, but I confess, the gift of peace of mind is for me. That said, I hope you find this list useful, and that 2015 will find your family just a little bit safer too!
P.S. If there’s something missing from this list you think we should include, definitely speak up!