A recent study from State Farm found that most Americans do not have the things they should have in their vehicles should they become stranded or face other emergency situations. That is particularly alarming in the winter months when snow and ice pose greater potential hazards for motorists.
State Farm says most drivers have ‘junk in the trunk’
State Farm’s survey found that, while nearly all motorists have at least one of the items recommended for a roadside emergency inside their vehicles, fewer than one in ten have all of the items. A full 60 percent had “junk in the trunk,” according to the report — miscellaneous trash or other items that have little value in times of emergency.
“Even on a relatively short trip, you can find yourself stranded for several hours. It’s important to be prepared,” said State Farm safety expert, Robert Medved. “These new findings highlight the importance of having the right emergency equipment so people can safely get back on the road faster.”
What you need in a pinch
The recommended items to have on hand for an emergency are jumper cables, a spare tire, a hazard triangles or road flares, a flashlight, a first aid kit, emergency water and a blanket.
The State Farm report also suggests that motorists check their emergency supplies at least twice a year, and to stock up if they are found lacking. Only 20 percent routinely do so, according to the survey report.
What to do if stranded
The report also suggested a sequence of events, should a motorist become stranded.
- Pull of the road. Turn on hazard lights and set road flares or reflective hazard triangles.
- Call 911. Describe your location in as much detail as possible.
- Stay in your vehicle so that you can be found.
- Turn on your engine and run the heater only 10 minutes out of each hour to conserve power. You don’t know how long you will be there.
- While your engine is on, turn on the interior light to be better seen.
- Clear your tailpipe if it is blocked by snow or mud or debris. Then crack a down-wind window slightly for ventilation.
The State Farm study was performed by KRC Research. Nearly 900 licensed U.S. drivers, representing various age and ethnic demographics, were surveyed over the telephone to collect the data.
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