Wayne Cook
April 12, 2010

Travel Preparation
Roadside Emergency Kit

We can remember driving with a group of friends back in our younger days and for whatever reason we had the parking lights on while driving but we forgot to turn the lights off in the broad daylight when we parked the car. Later that evening when it was time to head home we realized our mistake, as turning the key caused nothing more than the telltale click, click, click of a dead battery. Everyone else was leaving and one fellow offered us a jump-start if we had jumper cables. Unfortunately we didn't and he left, leaving us to resolve the dead battery quandary on our own. Our car had an automatic transmission so there would be no push-starts either. This was also in the days before cell phones and as such, resolving the problem became more complicated than it would be today.

In any era it would be nice to be able to help ourselves. As we all know there are many other hazards out there and we learned a lesson that day. It pays to be prepared with a few fundamental things when you go on an outing in your classic Ford, or any car. We decided that day to compile a roadside emergency kit of our own that would contain some things that would help get us back underway in the event of a problem. What would such a kit contain beyond the basic jack and spare tire? Common sense told us that a good fire extinguisher would be near the top of the list.

After considerable searching, we realized that no one kit would satisfy all of our needs. First of all we wanted a roadside emergency kit that would help us out the next time we needed a jump on the battery. But just jumper cables wouldn't be much good at night if you can see what you're doing. Get the polarity wrong and you can fry all sorts of things. So, obviously, any collection of road safety items must include a good quality flashlight. We also wanted to have a small tool kit on board to help with any doable roadside repairs. We know from experience that the best way to not need tools on a road trip is to bring them along. Don't bring them and you'll need to replace an alternator in a Pep Boys parking lot 100 miles from home with no tools. We surveyed a wide selection of offerings and came up with a portable tool kit that was a good compromise between compact size and being comprehensive enough in selection to be worth bringing along.

We also gave some thought to being visible alongside the road in the event of a breakdown. Flares are a good short-term solution, but they burn out after 15 or 20 minutes and then you're back to being invisible on the side of the road. We found a cool LED roadside safety light that really fills the bill for this need and works for a continuous 24 hours. Follow along with us as we take a look at some of the roadside emergency ideas that we put together for peace of mind on our next classic Ford outing.

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery