Roadside Emergency Readiness

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People are vacationing closer to home this summer — that means more people are traveling by car. If you're planning a long trip or just use your car around town, there are certain things you should never leave home without. Consumer Reports can tell you what you'll need in case of an emergency.

The Sanborn-Hum family is planning an eight-hour road trip for their summer vacation.

"Do you see where that is, Kaela?"

While they don't foresee any problems, they know it's important to be prepared.

"Safety equipment includes a first aid kit, flares in case there's a problem on the road, in case there's a breakdown and miscellaneous tools I might need in case of some other emergency."
Consumer Reports John Galeotafiore
(PRON: gal-tuh-fee-OR-ee) says the right equipment is essential, but first things first.

"If you're stuck on the side of the road, get as far right as possible, and put your flashers on."

But if your battery's dead — a common problem — the flashers won't work. In that case, emergency flares are a must. To get your battery going again, jumper cables are one option but you need another vehicle.

"If you have something like a portable power booster pack you don't have to rely on another motorist to give you a hand. It's self-contained and you can jump start the car and be on your way."

And don't forget to carry a flashlight so you can see what you're doing if you break down at night. With items like these, you, like Robert, can hope for the best and be prepared for the worst.

Consumer Reports says a cell phone can be vital if your car breaks down — but you shouldn't rely on it alone. Every cell phone service has some dead spots where the phone won't work. But even if you are able to arrange for roadside assistance, having emergency equipment on hand is important because it can be hours before help arrives.

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