When you are a field inspector, the importance of having a road hazard kit in your car cannot be stressed enough. We all ignore suggestions to keep road hazard items in our car for emergencies, but when you are in this business and traveling all day long, you should not underestimate the need for safety on the road.
You are in your car a lot of the time and out on roads in areas you are unfamiliar with. Often, you will leave home in the morning in good driving conditions and end up heading home in a blizzard or pouring rain. The odds of you needing one or more road hazard kit items at some point are pretty high. Here is a list of the things I always carry with me on the road:
- Jumper cables
- Matches in case you are stranded in the cold and need to light a fire to keep warm.
- Mini compressor. I have had to inflate my tires several times in order to get to a repair shop.
- Blanket or sleeping bag. Choose something that is warm enough to sleep in overnight should you get stuck during the winter months.
- Warm clothing such as coats, gloves, hats, scarves, and boots. Picture yourself walking long distances through the snow in sub-zero weather, and bring the outfit you would choose to be wearing in that situation.
- Water and snacks in case you are stranded in your vehicle for any length of time. This is also handy when you are driving in the middle of nowhere and suddenly realize you are starving.
- Rock salt. This can be mixed with kitty litter on very icy roads to make the surface more porous.
- Snow shovel. This has saved me from having to be towed on many occasions, and has also allowed me to help others in a similar situation.
- Kitty litter. This is useful for traction on ice and snow.
- Pepper spray for protection against animals or for entering vacant, isolated properties.
- Some money and/or a gas card in your glove compartment. You may find yourself out of gas with no wallet or money, or somewhere where there is no means of using a debit/credit card.
This list is based on my own personal experience, but yours may be different. Consider the locations you will be working in, think about the situations you might find yourself in, and make your own personal list. Don’t ever underestimate the dangers of cold weather. If you are stranded in your car or need to walk a long way in the cold, warm clothing and a blanket might be the difference between life and death.