On the Road Safety: Lose the Junk in Your Trunk

An amazingly high percentage of drivers (as in, almost all drivers) have trunks full of everything except what should be there to prepare for a roadside emergency according to a new study done by KRC Research and State Farm.  Parents are the worst trunk stuffers of all; all the baby/toddler gear ends up gathering in the trunk, obliterating space that could be used for supplies to repair the vehicle and even save a life, especially during seasons of extreme temperatures.

Women are less likely than men to have just ONE of the items that are considered essential. These include a flashlight, jumper cables or a first aid kit. Men are also better at checking the supplies from time to time (81 percent of men vs. 53 percent of women). That bag of favorite stuffed animals in the trunk may be considered essential for your toddler, but you should seriously consider removing it to make room for a spare and some jumper cables.

John Nepomuceno, an auto safety research administrator from State Farm, states the sobering facts: “Even on a relatively short trip, you can find yourself stranded for several hours. Whether it’s because of a flat tire, and empty fuel tank or treacherous conditions like ice or fog, it’s important to be prepared. These new findings highlight the importance of having the right emergency equipment so you can safely get back on the road sooner.”

The sort-of good news is that nearly all of us have at least one emergency item, like a spare tire or jumper cables. The not-so-good news is that only 5 percent carry all the essentials.

State Farm has come up with a list of items to safeguard you and your family while driving (especially during dangerous winter months) so you’ll be prepared if you find yourself stranded: a hazard triangle with reflectors (or flares), a first aid kit, jumper cables, a windshield scraper and brush, spare tire, blankets and extra warm clothing, a cell phone and charger, high-calorie non-perishable food, road salt or cat litter for tire traction, police or “help” flag, candle, matches, lighter and/or flashlight and a tarp for sitting or kneeling in the snow and slush to change a tire.

The items are easy to find, and won’t take up too much space in the trunk so you’ll still have room for those adorable toys that keep your toddler smiling. Is there a new teen driver in your home? Show them the list, instruct them about using the items, and help them create a safety stash in the car they’ll be driving. Safety essentials would also make a great Valentine’s Day gift for someone you love (just don’t forget that chocolate is essential, too!)

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