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What Belongs in a Car Emergency Kit?

Whenever we set out on a drive, whether it is our normal commute to work or a long trek to a vacation destination, there is always the possibility of an emergency situation. Emergencies could range from being stuck for hours in a long traffic jam to being stranded during a severe snow storm. While these incidents are, we hope, few and far between, it is always recommended to take precautions to prepare for “worst case scenarios” and emergency situations. One good precaution is to keep certain supplies and essential items in your car at all times.

Many stores sell emergency kits or first-aid kits, but it is very easy to make your own basic car emergency kit using a standard plastic container or box. A lot of the items recommended are useful, common sense items to have in your vehicle regardless of an emergency situation. The following are just some of the items we recommend including in your kit:

  • Emergency radio
  • LED flashlight and/or headlamp
  • Road flares
  • Basic toolkit: Pliers, wrench, screwdrivers, a tire pressure gauge and tire inflator.
  • Fluorescent safety vests (enough for all members of your family)
  • Basic first-aid supplies: Recommended items include adhesive bandages, sterile gauze pads, an oral thermometer, tweezers, aspirin packets, antiseptic wipes, antibiotic ointment packets, cloth tape, and an instant cold compress.
  • Several blankets
  • Disinfectant wipes or baby wipes
  • Sunscreen and bug repellant
  • Paper towels or tissues
  • Bottled water
  • Sustainable food items: Items that will last for long periods of time include energy bars, dried nuts or fruits, jerky, and trail mix.

When you are planning a road trip during the winter season, you will want to add additional blankets as well as heavy weather gear, such as parkas, extra gloves, scarves and hats, and boots.

If you have other questions about putting together the best emergency car kit, consult with your local auto shop for expert advice and ideas.