Your driver fails to deliver your product to customers due to a breakdown. You miss an important conference because you're stuck on the side of the road. Your key execs must postpone a crucial customer get-together while they wait for the tow truck. Few factors can disrupt business the way car problems can.
While cell phones, in-car roadside assistance systems and emergency roadside phones are the best way to summon help, you can solve a few problems yourself if you're carrying the kind of emergency equipment that can get you moving again.
Basic necessities for your business vehicle's emergency kit include jumper cables, a flashlight, flares, a toolkit, a tire inflator/sealant, bottles of water and first-aid items. Stocking extra oil and brake fluid, a spare fan belt and a radiator hose is a good idea, too. In foul-weather states, add an ice scraper and traction boards.
While you can assemble these supplies yourself, there's a range of ready-made kits available that will save you time and effort and that come in neat packages for the trunk of your company vehicle. If you commute out to the boonies, you may need the $69.95 Mountain Road Warrior Survival Kit from the Emergency Preparedness Center www.areyouprepared.com); it includes a tow rope, a waterproof poncho, a utility knife and drinking water. At the other end of the scale, the same site offers the economy Commuter Survival Kit ($19.95), which includes a flashlight, a whistle, a blanket and an eight-piece first-aid kit. And somewhere in the middle is the 19-piece Car Auto Emergency Tool Kit (regularly $49.95, on sale for $24.98) from Online Discount Mart (www.onlinediscountmart.com; click on "Tool Sets"), which includes jumper cables, screwdrivers, pliers, gloves and electrical tape.
Some companies have group purchase programs ideal for fleets and sell vehicle emergency kits in bulk, with various discounts available. Whatever your needs, it makes sense to ensure your safety and that of your employees by providing emergency kits that at least fulfill the basic necessities.
Editor and consultant Jill Amadio has been reporting on the automotive industry for 24 years.