Essential Items You Should Have in Your Car

Written by Bonnie Gringer

Vehicle safety is about more than just obeying traffic laws and being an alert driver. As a responsible motorist, you should also plan for unforeseen emergencies that may occur while you’re traveling. While a basic toolkit is a necessity in each vehicle, a few more items kept in your trunk can mean the difference between waiting hours on help or getting back on the road in minutes. When selecting items to keep in your car, consider where you live, your destination, your vehicle’s condition, and personal items that you can’t get through the day without. This can be a great starting point to equip your vehicle with everything you need to survive every type of emergency.

Accidentally running out of gas on the road can be an unwelcome surprise to any driver. This is especially true of those who are traveling in unfamiliar places and are unsure of where the nearest gas station may be. Consider keeping a siphon and a new gas can in your car for these types of emergencies. A siphon will allow drivers who see you stalled to pull over and instantly top up your gas tank, while a gas can will give you what you need to make a trek to a station if you know that one is down the road.

Keeping certain equipment in your vehicle can ensure that you’ll be driving down the road again in no time. A basic toolkit, including duct tape, will help you or a good Sanitarian make minor repairs to your car. Jumper cables, a spare tire, and spare fuses can get your vehicle up and running again in a jiffy, while reflectors, warning triangles, and safety lights can keep you safe while you’re fixing a problem. A can of sealant will spare you the trouble of changing a tire on the side of the road by providing a quick patch to get you to the nearest gas station. Be sure to keep money, rags, and paper towels on hand, too, just in case you need them.

An LED flashlight should be in every car emergency kit, as it can help you make repairs or even signal for help. If you’re handy under the hood, consider buying one that has a magnetic exterior or investing in a headlamp; these can free up both of your hands so they’re ready to tackle your problem. Some travel lights or flashlights may have strobe or red bulb options; both of these modes can help you call attention to yourself, warn other drivers that you’re on the road, and alert passers-by of emergencies. Keep extra batteries on hand in case you’re stuck for a long period of time.

When you’re assembling your vehicle’s emergency kit, consider what your own body might need while you’re experiencing a problem with your car. Stash bottles of water in your vehicle to remain hydrated, and keep a first aid kit on hand in case you need to patch yourself up. Carry non-perishable food or snacks with generous expiration dates, like protein bars, to ensure that you’ll have something to eat if you’re stuck in your car for a while. Two complete changes of clothes, including underwear, can serve you well during an emergency; put one together for hot weather and the other for chilly months. A small bag of medications can also ensure that you don’t miss a dose if you’re dependent on them for your health.

Take a blanket out of your closet and place it in the trunk of your vehicle. A blanket can be a lifesaver if your car breaks down during a winter storm. Blankets are generally smart to keep in your vehicle throughout the year, as they can help keep you warm on chilly nights or provide comfort if your car breaks down and you need to find a cool place to sit while you wait for help to arrive. While it can be tempting to save space and opt to carry the smallest and thinnest blanket possible, choose a standard-sized blanket or even one with a little more padding than usual. These attributes will come in handy when you really need them.

Visit the following links to learn more about what to keep in your vehicle in case of emergencies: