5 Essential Items for Your Car’s Emergency Kit

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The emergency situations that drivers encounter on a daily basis are innumerable: wrecks, traffic jams, flooded roadways, icy conditions, a fuel gauge just below E, a dead battery. Whether your commute is just a couple of blocks or an hour on a remote stretch of interstate, you never know when a circumstance beyond your control will leave you stranded in your car for an extended period of time. Take a few minutes to create an emergency kit specifically designed for these unexpected situations. The items below will not only make a few hours in your unmoving car more bearable, they could mean the difference between life and death.

All these items can be stored in a plastic storage container in your trunk or cargo area for easy access.

5 Must-have Items for Your Car’s Emergency Kit

  1. 1

    A small blanket can serve many purposes for the stranded motorist. It provides warmth in cold weather and comfort if you’re camping out in your vehicle for a couple of hours. If you are forced to make a repair like changing a tire, having a soft blanket to lie upon as you maneuver under and around your vehicle can make an annoying task just a little easier. A simple blanket can be used to wrap-up an injured or sick individual or to apply pressure to a wound sustained in an accident. A small blanket can be rolled or tightly folded so that it does not take up too much space in your emergency kit.

  2. 2

    A gallon of water provides hydration for you and your car. Keep a gallon of distilled or filtered water in your vehicle’s emergency kit primarily to ensure that you have something to drink if you are trapped inside your vehicle for more than a couple of hours. Water can also be handy if your vehicle overheats. Pour a little into your radiator to keep the motor running until you arrive at your destination. This is perhaps the bulkiest item in your emergency kit but is by far the most essential.

  3. 3

    A few nonperishable snacks can make all the difference in your energy level and attitude during an impossibly long traffic jam. Beef jerky, nuts, granola bars, hard candy, and dried fruit provide a quick snack in case you are forced to spend your afternoon stuck in your car miles from the nearest exit. Make sure that you do not put any perishable foods in your emergency kit or anything that may melt like chocolate. If you have special dietary needs because of diabetes or other medical issues, make sure you have appropriate foods in your vehicle at all times.

  4. 4

    Basic first aid supplies are a wise addition to any vehicle emergency kit. Bandages, alcohol pads, medical tape, a roll of gauze, antibiotic ointment, and basic medicines such as ibuprofen and antacids can address a variety of emergency situations on the road. You never know when you may encounter another motorist who needs medical attention or suffer a minor injury while changing a tire. Having a small first aid kit in your vehicle’s emergency kit is an essential safety precaution for any driver.

  5. 5

    A flashlight or headlamp is a tremendous help if you become stranded on the road at night. It is impossible to change a tire, check under the hood, or assist another stranded motorist in the dark. You may not be able to depend on your vehicle’s headlights or interior lights if its battery dies. Pack a small, high-quality water-proof flashlight or headlamp in your vehicle’s emergency kit as well as a few extra batteries just in case it goes out.

Creating an emergency kit for your vehicle is one of the first things you should do when you become a licensed driver.

Your new freedom exposes you to all types of dangerous situations. Having a few basic supplies will keep you safe and allow you to handle a variety of emergency situations until help arrives.

Andrei Zakhareuski, Driving-Tests.org Founder
Andrei is a driver with 11+ years of experience and the founder of Driving-Tests.org.

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