Emergencies can happen to anyone. Whether you run out of fuel, puncture a tire, or slip off a snowy road, keep a car emergency kit to help you get back on the road safely and quickly.
In addition to the items listed below, a cellular phone is highly advised. Make sure your cell phone is charged every time you get in the car and keep a cell phone charger in your car.
Keep these items in a bag in your trunk. Ideally, we’d suggest a clear, plastic container so it’s easy to see everything. You can buy a pre-packaged kit or create your own.
- Flashlight, plus extra batteries
First Aid Kit (band-aides, adhesive tape, antiseptic wipes, gauze pads, antiseptic cream). See First-aid kit checklist.
Multi-tool (such as a Leatherman Tool or a Swiss Army Knife)
Road flares or reflective warning triangles
- Small fire extinguisher (5-lb., Class B and Class C type) in case of a car fire
Tire gauge to check inflation pressure in all four tires and the spare tire
Jack and lug wrench to change a tire
Gloves, rags, hand cleaner (such as baby wipes)
Foam tire sealant for minor tire punctures
Nonperishable high-energy foods such as granola bars, raisins, and peanut butter
Battery– or hand-crank–powered radio
Spare change and cash
For those in wintry areas, add the below items to your emergency kit. (If it’s balmy all winter where you live, be thankful that you don’t need all this stuff!)
- Blankets, gloves, hats
Collapsible or folding snow shovel
A bag of sand to help with traction (or bag of kitty litter)
Tire chains and tow strap
Winter boots for longer trips
Sleeping bag for longer trips
Source: Farmers’ Almanac