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Must-have gear to help you get back on the road fast

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Updated: 1/25/2013 10:33 am

(BPT) - Driving is a responsibility that can present unique challenges. Carrying some extra gear in your vehicle can help ensure you stay safe and are ready to aid others who run into trouble. Even if you have roadside assistance, it can take hours before someone arrives to help. That's why it's important to be self-reliant and prepare ahead of time.

'Smart drivers know to equip their vehicles year-round with basic emergency gear, like flares and a first aid kit,' says Chuck Albrecht, president of Northern Tool + Equipment. 'However, most drivers do not think about the extra equipment that can be a lifesaver in the event you become stranded.'

Here are some items that retailers Northern Tool + Equipment and Kotula's would recommend every well-prepared driver should keep in their vehicle:

1. Essential fluids - Fluids keep your vehicle going year-round. Create a fluids kit that includes an emergency supply of motor oil, wiper fluid and antifreeze. Make sure that containers are tightly sealed to minimize spill risks. Also, make sure you know how to refill your car fluids so you are ready for any situation that occurs.

2. Backup power - Extreme temperatures can be hard on batteries. A portable powerpack, like the NPower Powerpack Emergency Power Source with Air Compressor can be a lifesaver in emergency situations. The integrated SLA battery provides the power you need to get batteries started in any weather and eliminates the need for a jump-start from another car. You can also ensure you'll never be caught with a deflated tire with the 150 PSI air compressor included with this product.

3. Extra hoses - Even though it's a relatively easy thing to fix, a blown hose can leave you stranded if you don't have an extra on hand. When your vehicle works hard - towing a heavy load, plowing through bad weather or over rough terrain - the strain on the engine can affect the integrity of hoses. Keep a few extra in your vehicle, especially if your car or truck has high mileage.

4. Auto heater/defroster - Changing temperatures can cause condensation or frost to form on the interior of windows, which can cause unsafe driving situations. Be prepared with a defroster like Kotula's Auto Heater/Defroster that plugs into your vehicle's 12-volt power port, which quickly defrosts windows and heats up a car, allowing you to be on your way faster.

5. Multipurpose Tool Set - In a car emergency a compact multipurpose tool can fix a wide variety of things. Be prepared with a multipurpose tool like the Klutch Multipurpose Tool Set to tighten screws and bolts, maneuver small objects and more, without having to carry a toolbox in your car. You'll also ensure you'll never be without a light as this product includes a LED pocket light and keychain.

Getting around - and getting the job done - requires caution and care at any time of the year. But with the right gear, it's possible to keep everything moving safely no matter what emergency comes your way.

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