9 Ways Duct Tape Could Save Your Life During a Car Emergency

9 Ways Duct Tape Could Save Your Life During a Car Emergency

June 27, 2020 Off By Bruno Maiorana

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I’m sure you’ve heard “duct tape fixes everything!” many times in your life. Although it’s not true that duct tape can fix everything, there are innumerable uses for this product, including for during car emergencies.

Duct tape is made of cloth or woven material covered in polyethylene and strong adhesive, making it perfect for situations where it has to be strong, flexible, and very binding. The following are nine ways that duct tape can be of great help in a car emergency.

1)     Temporarily Patch Leaks

Since duct tape is weather-resistant, waterproof, and adhesive, it makes for a perfect patch. This could be an option if a storm is quickly coming and you have a new hole in your convertible’s top. Other adhesives on the market do not adhere to a top made of cloth or vinyl, making duct tape one of the few options to keep water out until you can have your convertible’s roof professionally repaired or replaced.

If your windshield is leaking after getting hit by road debris, you can tape along the inside seam of the windshield to keep the water out of your vehicle’s interior. In a rainy situation where you’re caught outside, you could even use duct tape to repair tears in a rain poncho included with your roadside emergency kit.


2)     Handling a Broken Window

If your window has become broken, you can use duct tape to keep it intact until you can get it replaced. From the inside of your vehicle, place duct tape in a crisscross fashion across the window.

Not only will this help reinforce your window and keep it in place, but pieces of glass will stay together preventing injury if the window completely shatters because of the motion of the vehicle. Taping it from the inside of the vehicle will stop glass from falling onto your passengers or yourself. If the window is busted out or shatters, you can use duct tape and a trash bag to cover the opening and prevent water from getting inside of your vehicle.

3)     Temporarily Hold on Broken Parts

No one wants to be “that car” with their side-view mirror dangling from the side of the car, but accidents can do that, and accidents can happen to anyone. Although SLiPLO Universal Skidplate can do wonders preventing paint damage to your bumper, it’s not much use if your bumper is broken off of your vehicle. If you need to reattach your bumper, or another part, temporarily until you can have it replaced, duct tape will do the job.



4)     Treat Lacerations

One of the reasons that duct tape is one of the must-have emergency tools to have on your road trip is that it can really help with first aid. You can make a bandage out of a swab or gauze and a strip of duct tape. If the wound is gaping, you can make a butterfly suture to hold the gash closed. In a very desperate situation, you could even use your duct tape as a tourniquet. Tourniquets should be used when a person is at risk of bleeding out and direct pressure on the wound does not stop the bleeding. The person must get emergency care quickly even if a tourniquet stops the bleeding because the lack of blood flow can damage the person’s tissue and require amputation if the tourniquet is left on for a couple of hours.

5)     Leaking Radiator Hose

Although this is a temporary fix, this can be a life-saver for getting you to where you can get help. If your radiator hose is leaking, the first thing you need to do is let your vehicle cool off so you don’t end up with burns. After it cools down some and it’s safe to open the hood, look for where the steam is coming from. Once you locate where the leak is, ensure there is no moisture on the hose and apply a small piece of duct tape. Finally, wrap the duct tape around the hose starting a few inches before the leak and continuing for another few inches in an overlapping fashion. Duct tape isn’t an acceptable temporary patch for gas lines, on the other hand, because gasoline can deteriorate the adhesive.



6)     Get Traction


It’s incredibly frustrating to get your vehicle stuck and have no way to get it out. This situation could become more dangerous than frustrating if you’re on an empty stretch of road, in the dark, and it’s below freezing. Even if you are prepared, such as having Blikzone’s Roadside Emergency Kit that comes with over 80 pieces, you likely will not find a way in it to get yourself out of the mud without the assistance of another driver. If you find yourself in this situation, you can use duct tape to hold together anything you can find on the street and your vehicle to make a 2ft track for your tires to create traction and get out. Tape together a few feet of sticks, trash, crumpled clothing, and whatever else you can find and place it under, and in front of, the front tires if you have front-wheel drive, or the back tires if you have rear-wheel drive.

7)     Risky Fan Belt Alternative

Under no circumstances will using duct tape as a fan belt last you any amount of time. This is only an idea for when you have absolutely no other options but you have to get to safety or help. You may have heard of using pantyhose with v belts on older cars, but they do not work on modern serpentine belts. Duct tape is the best chance you have if you have to go this route. You can tape together a broken belt, though it may split in another spot, and you may have to replace the tape every few miles. One way to avoid getting in this situation in the first place is to replace your fan belt when it’s getting old, then keep it as a spare along with the tools to change it over in an emergency.  

8)     Splinting Broken Bones and Sprains

Just like using duct tape to close up lacerations, duct tape can be a tool of first aid and splint broken bones and sprains. If you sprain your ankle, you can wrap your ankle after putting on a long sock or other material to protect your skin, the same as you would with a bandage. This will give you additional support and prevent you from worsening the injury. If, on the other hand, your leg or ankle is broken, you can use splinting material and something for cushion, and then use the duct tape to wrap the splint closed and secure.

9)     Emergency Tow

In an emergency, you can use duct tape to tow your vehicle because of its incredible strength and durability. It is best to have, and know how to use 3 ton tow straps, but they may not be present in every situation. If this happens, you can use duct tape. Like how you would make any type of durable rope out of duct tape, you only need to twist it. Just make sure the two strips of duct tape you use is long enough!