Safety Equipment


There are a few things that vehicles should be equipped with that do not come from the factory.These are the items that you need when your car breaks down on the side of a dark road.Even the most reliable vehicle can do it for the smallest of reasons, like a wire coming loose.Most of this equipment is dictated by the normal weather in the region in which you drive.

1.     In winter, throw an old coat (or blanket) in your trunk and leave it there.(In snowy areas, include hat, gloves, and boots.)If you are like most drivers, when you dress for a short trip, you assume that the car will get you to your destination.A sweater or light jacket and the carís heater would be just fine for a short trip.However, if you break down only a couple miles from a phone, a walk of that distance in winter could mean a week of the flu.Even sitting in a cold car for an hour is no fun.A coat in the trunk is cheap insurance.

2.     If it rains frequently, keep a small umbrella somewhere in your car.Many accidents happen in the rain, and standing out in it makes the Text Box:  

experience doubly unpleasant.

3.     Put a stand-up reflector or battery powered flashing light in the car.If you have to change a tire on the side of a road, you will find that road sides are very unfriendly places.If the flat tire is on the side of the car away from the road, you will either be working up against a road barrier,trying to jack the car in the mud, or sitting in the mud.In this case, the reflector will allow you to position the car closer to the traffic lane so that you have a better work surface or more space from the wall.If the flat tire is on the traffic side, you will be in danger of being hit.In this case, positioning the reflector or light closer to traffic than you are will make the situation a little less dangerous, which is not to say that it will be safe, just slightly less dangerous.





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4.     Put a flashlight in the car.Light is the key to fixing a bad situation.You can read maps, do repairs, alert oncoming drivers that you are walking down the road, or flag down repair vehicles.







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Put a couple of blocks of wood in the car to be used as chocks when changing a flat tire.While it helps to set the carís brakes and transmission to keep the car from rolling, when a wheel is jacked up off the ground, its brake is negated, and the car more likely to roll.Chocking the wheel (ie, putting one block under the front of the tire and one block under the back of the tire) that is diagonally opposite (catty corner) to the wheel being jacked up will enhance safety.






  1. If you are not a person of great strength, put a cheater bar in the trunk.Cars come with a tire changing kit, which includes a car jack and a lug wrench, but most lug wrenches are too short to allow a small person to get enough leverage to loosen a lug nut that some tire mechanic tightened with an air wrench.A cheater bar is a length of metal pipe that you can slide over the lug wrench handle, effectively making the lug wrench two or three times longer.A Mazda Miatacomes with a one foot long lug wrench.The wheel lug nuts are supposed to be tightened to 90 lb feet of torque.That means that you have to exert over 90 lb of force on the end of that wrench in order to loosen the lug nut, and you have to do it four times, once for each lug nut.If you slide a two foot long cheater bar over the wrench, the force that you have to apply on the end of the bar will be only 45 lb, a much more feasible force for a small person, and since we are talking about a Miata, most large persons are not going to fit into that car in the first place.Now consider a soccer mom trying to change a tire on a Suburban.Scary, huh?In that case, $112 per year for an AAA (American Automobile Association) membership might sound like a reasonable cost.


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Cheater bar: any length of pipe that can slide over the lug wrench handle to effectively increase its length
(thereby making it easier to turn a bolt or nut)
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With the cheater bar slid over the lug wrench, you can multiply your force to loosen the lug nut.  If the cheater bar is twice as long as the lug wrench, you can exert twice the force on the lug nut.














  1. If you get locking wheels or wheel covers on your car, keep the key to the lock in the car.

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