Whether you are commuting, carpooling or traveling across the country, everyone should have a roadside emergency car kit. Being stranded is frustrating and potentially dangerous, and many car-emergency products only offer the bare minimum when it comes to safety and survival tools that you might need. The following list of necessary and useful items will help you put together the best car emergency kit no matter your travel situation.
First Aid Kit
Buy a well-stocked first aid kit and place it in a spot easy to find. Having anti-septic cleaner and bandages is essential if someone is injured while away from home. If you use items from your first aid supply, be sure to re-stock.
Spare Tire, Jack and Jumper Cables
It is highly likely your car has a spare tire and jack. Adding jumper cables to your emergency kit is a good idea. Finding out that your spare is useless when you need it can be a disaster, so take some time to assess its condition a few times each year. Many cars require a tool to unlock the lug nuts on your wheels, secure it in a place that is easy to locate. Be sure you know how to change a tire, even if you have roadside assistance, as there may be a time you need this skill to help someone else.
Emergency Signs and Flashlight
Finding yourself on the side of a busy highway is dangerous and distressing. Reflective warning triangles, emergency flares and flashlights will go a long way toward creating a safe boundary around your car. Purchase at least two LED flashlights and put one in your glove compartment and one in the trunk with your other supplies and remember to check the batteries. Having a flashlight in your glove compartment will be handy for many tasks. The flashlight app on your phone may not be bright enough, and you may need to save your battery for emergency calls.
Emergency Blankets and Towels
Those mylar heat-reflecting blankets are a vital survival tool for a reason. They weigh next to nothing, conserve your body heat and can save your life. Buy one for every family member and keep a few in both the glove box and your emergency kit. Ending up on the side of the road wet and injured is a recipe for hypothermia. Additionally, having a few spare towels will allow you to wipe off dirt and grease and help you clean muddy shoes and paws.
Sure, your mechanic has the tools needed to repair the car, but you never know when you might need a screwdriver or wrench. The classic, all-in-one Leatherman Tool is indispensable when you suddenly need to pry open a lid or tighten a screw to stop that annoying rattle.
Water and Food
Most of us keep a water bottle with us everywhere we go, but storing a few large bottles of water in your car is a good idea for emergencies.
Likewise, your pets may need water, too, and having a few emergency food items can save the day. Pack some nuts or power bars in your emergency kit and check for freshness every few months.
Helpful But Not Necessary
Some other items to add to your emergency kit:
Dog Leash – You may have to leash a stray dog someday.
Duct Tape – You never know when you might find a roll handy.
Nylon Rope/ Bungee Cords – Useful for securing items.
Paper Towels/ Napkins – Keep a stash in the glove compartment.
Ink Pens and Paper – When your usual pen is missing, or you need to leave a written note somewhere.
Your local Independent Insurance Associates are in the business of protecting your car and property. Remember, many companies offer the option of roadside assistance in their coverage. If you have questions or want to review your current policy, please feel free to contact us. We hope your car emergency kit will never be needed, but being prepared is the best way to ensure peace of mind.