Just 9 percent of drivers fully stock their cars with essential emergency roadside supplies, according to a new survey by State Farm and KRC Research.
Those items include jumper cables, spare tire, hazard triangle or road flares, flashlight, first aid kit, water and a blanket.
The survey found that sedan drivers were less likely to carry emergency supplies compared to SUV and truck drivers. Sixty percent of all drivers, meanwhile, reported they had some type of junk, such as old clothes and used drink containers, in their trunk. Most drivers said they keep at least one emergency supply in their vehicle, but driving safety experts say that's not enough.
State Farm safety expert Robert Medved recommends drivers check supplies at least twice a year to make sure the equipment is in working order. The spare tires should be properly inflated, first-aid supplies should be current, and all supplies should be fully stocked. A driver's cell phone charger should be compatible with the car's power outlet or USB port.
If stranded in bad weather, State Farm offers the following advice:
- Pull off the highway, turn on hazard lights and use a road flare or reflectors.
- Call 911 if a cell phone is available and describe the location. Follow any instructions from the dispatcher.
- Remain in the vehicle.
- Run the engine and heater about 10 minutes each hour to keep warm.
- Open a downwind window slightly for ventilation and clear snow from the exhaust pipe to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Don't waste battery power. Balance electrical energy needs -- lights, heat and radio -- with supply.
- At night, turn on an inside light when running the engine so first responders can see the car.
- Keep the fuel tank at least half-full during bad weather.