Driver Resources 
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Car Emergency Kit


Be prepared with a roadside emergency kit.

Its a good idea to carry an emergency kit in your car in case a stop is necessary. A basic car emergency kit is relatively inexpensive and should include the following:

  • Your AARP Roadside Assistance Membership Handbook(It lists the Roadside Assistance phone number and the procedures to follow to get help.)
  • First aid kit
  • Flashlight
  • Safety flares or reflective triangles
  • "Help" flag
  • Screwdrivers (a flat blade and a Phillips)
  • Pliers
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Work gloves
  • Blanket
  • Jumper cables

More Emergency Tips

Other items you might check or carry with you:

  1. See that your spare is inflated. If you have a "space-saver" spare, regularly check the canister used to inflate the tire. Keep your jack in good operating condition.
  2. You may want to consider carrying an extra set of belts for the fan, alternator, and power steering, especially if you own a foreign automobile.
  3. A container of sand is helpful if your car is stuck in snow or ice gallon milk containers are ideal for this.

Using Jumper Cables

Jumping a battery is dangerous if not performed correctly. Always follow these rules:

  1. Wear glasses or goggles to protect your eyes.
  2. Connect the red clip of one cable end to the positive (+) terminal and the black cable to the negative (-) terminal of the starting battery.
  3. Attach the red clip of the other end of the cable to the positive (+) terminal of the battery to be jumped and connect the black clip to the cars frame, engine support bracket or other good grounding element.
  4. Stand back and start the car that's giving the jump.
  5. Wait a few minutes, then start the car that had the dead battery.
  6. Remove the cables in reverse order.

If You Have to Pull Over

  1. If you are forced to make an emergency stop along a roadway, pull onto the shoulder or into the emergency lane as far as possible so that your car is completely off the road.
  2. Turn on your warning flashers and raise your hood.
  3. Place two flares or reflective triangles behind your car one approximately 300 feet and the other no closer than 10 feet from the rear of your car.
  4. Never stand behind your car or between two parked cars.

Getting Help

  1. If you can get to a telephone, call AARP Roadside Assistance toll-free number.
  2. If not, display your "help" flag where it can be seen by passing motorists or tie a handkerchief or a white cloth to the door handle or antenna.
  3. If you have a cell phone, call 911 or another number to ask for assistance. Give your location as accurately as possible.
  4. Even if you dont have a cell phone, many motorists do and will usually transmit a message requesting emergency help for a disabled car.
  5. Generally, it is best to stay with your car unless you know where you are or a service station or garage is within sight. If you do leave your car, be sure to roll up all the windows and lock all doors.

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