Having emergency items available in your vehicle can make a bad situation tolerable and may even save a life.

The last thing anyone wants is to be stranded in the middle of nowhere with a broken down car and no way to call for help. Even worse, would be to find yourself in an emergency situation without the items needed to help a friend, loved one, or random stranger. Having some basic items on hand can make a big difference in the outcome of common driving mishaps and emergency scenarios.

How many of these items do you have in your vehicle?

  • Emergency Contact List

  • Flash Light

  • Jumper Cables

  • Portable Tire Inflator and/or Fix-A-Flat

  • Tire Pressure Checker Tool

  • Spare Tire, Jack, Wheel Wrench (also known as a crow bar)

  • Reflective Triangles & Reflective Vest to make you and your vehicle more visible

  • Fire Extinguisher

  • Duct Tape

  • Zip-Ties – (assorted sizes)

  • Rain Gear – This incudes rain coats or ponchos and a small tarp. The tarp can also be used as a ground cover or emergency shelter if needed.

  • Drinking Water

  • Food (nonperishable, high energy such as protein bars, hard candy, nuts, and dried or canned foods)

  • Emergency Blankets

  • Mechanics Gloves

  • Tool Kit – Hammer, Pliers, Screwdrivers (Phillips & Flat head), Crescent Wrench, Alan Wrenches, Box Cutter

  • If you are going to be in a cold climate, add a snow scraper/brush, shovel, cat litter for traction, and windshield washer fluid.

Pro Tips

  1. If purchasing these items separately seems overwhelming, many stores and manufactures offer kits that have several items in one convenient container. We have discovered that placing like items together in containers makes it easy to find what you need when you need it. For example, all of our first aid supplies are in a bright red bag attached to the back of the driver’s seat for quick access.
  2. Save yourself some money. You probably already have many of these items in your home, so there is no need to purchase new ones, just move them from their current location to your vehicle. Additionally, second hand stores are excellent sources for tools and other items on the list.

Organization Matters

A little pre-planning can further reduce stress levels when facing an emergency situation. Grouping like supplies together and strategically placing them in your car, truck, van, or RV makes it much easier to find what you need when you need it. Commonly used items like flashlights and tire pressure checkers should be easy to get to making glove compartments and center consoles an ideal home for these items. As mentioned previously, you want quick access to some items such as your First Aid Kit and fire extinguisher, so keep them close to the driver’s seat.  Emergency foods, drinking water, and blankets can be tucked out of the way in the trunk since they are less likely to be used in a situation where quick access is needed. Tire inflators, jumper cables, and tools are other examples of items where quick access isn’t a matter of life or death; however, if you are on a roadtrip the last thing you want to do is unpack your trunk on the side of the road to get to them. Being sure to move those kits toward the back of the trunk or another location that allows easy access can save a lot of frustration and potentially reduce the amount of time you are broken down on the side of the road.

As with nearly all things related to driving, time spent preparing for the unexpected, is well worth the effort.