Apr 042005
 
Authors: Stephanie Lindberg

Car Safety Checklist:

* Blanket or sleeping bag

* Waterproof matches

* Flashlight and extra batteries

* Water

* Shovel

* Gloves/hand warmers

* First Aid kit

* Jumper cables

* Ice scraper

Driving a big sport utility vehicle may offer a sense of invincibility, but no matter what people drive, there are certain things that should be kept in the vehicle for safety.

Colorado driving offers unique weather challenges, such as snow in both the winter months and late spring.

Rob Wynne, general manager of Napa Autocare Center, recommends people keep a sleeping bag, jumper cables, roadside flares and a small tool kit in the vehicle in case they get stranded during a sudden storm.

"Jumper cables because somebody that stops to help you may not have them," Wynne said. "I keep all those things in my wife's car."

Though she has never used them, Mindy Sawyer, a senior zoology major, keeps roadside lights, a flashlight and tools for a quick tire fix in her Toyota Corolla. She also has a first-aid kit and is first aid-certified if she sees someone else in need.

"It's smart and safe," Sawyer said. "I've never used any of it but it's good to have."

Trevor Swanson, a senior history and political science major, keeps just the bare essentials in case of an emergency in his Saab.

"I keep maybe three or four tools in it," Swanson said. "Maybe some extra clothing but not much else."

Flares cost about $20 and could be the difference between someone stopping to help or an oncoming car not seeing a person who needs help, Wynne said.

Although Napa Auto Parts does not offer any of the things as a package, the items are available, Wynne said.

AAA kits include things such as a blanket, a folding shovel, waterproof matches, candles and water packets.

Security and safety while driving is also important.

For driving safely, Tony Quinn, a sales expert at Car Toys Inc., recommends a Bluetooth car kit to keep the amount of cell phone-related accidents to a minimum.

"It's 100 percent wireless connection to your wireless phone," Quinn said. "It's 100 percent hands-free. Every time you put your keys in your car, it recognizes your phone."

The kit, which can be bought for about $150, broadcasts any phone calls through a vehicle's stereo system. It automatically reconnects to the stereo once the call is finished, Quinn said.

"There should be some kind of law that you can't be on your wireless phone while driving," Quinn said. "You should first be safe. Wireless head sets help."

A two-way pager system connected to a car could help recover a stolen vehicle quickly by disabling it.

"You can disarm your car," Quinn said. "It would automatically shut off the car."

But an option like that could cost anywhere from $300 to $400.

Neither Swanson nor Sawyer has an alarm system on their vehicle, mostly because the car did not come equipped with one.

"I don't have the money to pay for it," Sawyer said.

Quinn said there is a cheaper option than a full system, though he recommends keyless entry and an alarm system.

"An L.E.D. system is good, too," Quinn said. "For 20 bucks it makes it appear you have an alarm."

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