Having the right car emergency kit in your vehicle keeps you safer and better prepared for the unexpected. Having certain items in your car can make a huge difference to your safety and ability to cope with whatever car emergencies the road brings your way, from breaking down to getting in to an accident.
Before looking at what should go into your emergency kit, you need to understand that you regularly need to check and update the kit depending on driving patterns and the weather. If you live in an area with no snow or freezing rain, you can skip some of these items. Also, if something on this list is inexpensive and small, you might as well carry it. You never know what kind of situations you might have to deal with.
We have listed below what we believe are essential items to be included in your vehicle emergency kit that you can start with. For your own personal circumstances and locality, you may see items that you won’t need so feel free to make adjustments as you see fit. You can keep them in a box or rucksack in the trunk of your car.
Not all items on the list will need to be carried at all times, some will only need to be added for extended trips.
Get Your Kit Together
Let’s start off with some items that are a must for your vehicle, no matter how long you are planning to be on the road. This includes a spare tire, a jack, and a tire wrench. It is important to note here that not all cars come ready with a spare tire so be sure to check. Be sure to learn how to actually change a flat tire too. It is no good having the equipment if you don’t even know how to use it.
You must also make sure that you have a list of emergency contacts in your vehicle. If you should get in to an accident, this list will give first-responders information as to who they should call. Don’t just keep this information on your phone. Once you have these items you can move on to our list below.
Anytime that you need to stop your vehicle during a winter storm, it is important that other drivers are made aware. This is where the FlareAlert LED Beacon road flares can be incredibly handy. These are compact, durable, safe, water resistant, and they’re crush resistant up to 20,000 pounds. Their magnetic base allows them to stick right onto your vehicle for enhanced visibility in any emergency situation. No fire, no fumes, no fuss!
The batteries will give the FlareAlert around 20 hours before a battery change is needed.
If something happens during the night or you need to get under the car, it is easier if you can see what you’re doing. Along with your flashlight, make sure to pack some spare batteries.
If you find yourself caught out and have to spend the night in your vehicle, you are going to want a blanket or a sleeping bag to help keep you warm.
Clothes and Gloves
Gloves can not only be used for keeping your hands warm but also for when having to do work on your vehicle. A change of clothes is recommended in case you get wet or dirty. Throw in a foldable poncho too for the rainy weather, these pack down nice and small.
These are a cheap addition to your car emergency kit and always a good idea to keep one on hand. If you are caught out in the middle of nowhere, the sound of a Whistle can be heard for miles.
First Aid Kit
Just like you should have one at home, so you should have one in your vehicle. Again, get some basic training on how to use the equipment properly.
There are lots of multi-tools available on the market and as the name suggests, you will have plenty of different tools on one piece of equipment.
A couple of bottles of water is something that you should never leave home without. The water can be used for not only drinking but also for cooling the radiator.
This is a no-brained but will help to get your vehicle back on the road.
Some guides I have seen recommend that you store some spare gas in your car. This is never a good idea but an empty gas can should be stored in case you run out and need to take a walk to the nearest gas station.
A small toolbox should be included in case you break down far from any help. At a minimum, this should include:
- Socket set
- Duct tape
- A knife
Spare oil should be packed at all times no matter how far the journey.
If the cold weather is setting in, be sure to pack an ice scraper with your kit.
Before you actually use your kit in an emergency situation, take some time to familiarize yourself with the items you’ve collected and how to use them properly. If your car breaks down, make sure you stop on the shoulder, well out of the flow of traffic. Turn on your emergency flashers and, if you have roadside assistance and a cell phone, stay in your vehicle until help arrives. If it’s a problem that needs quick response, or you are on that dark country road that we mentioned before, take out your emergency kit and proceed cautiously.
The list above is by no means extensive. These are what I consider to be the bare minimum that you should carry in your vehicle emergency kit.