20 Items to Keep In Your Car Emergency Kit

When driving, you never know what could happen. You might run out of gas, have a tire blowout, end up with a dead battery, or your engine might fail. You may even experience a car accident and need to work with an experienced auto accident lawyer to ensure you get the personal injury compensation you deserve. This is why you should always have an emergency kit in your car. In this article, we’ll go over what a car emergency kit is, what it should include, and more.

Let’s get started!

What Is a Car Emergency Kit?

A car emergency kit is just what it sounds like. It’s a kit that contains a variety of gear and tools to help you in different emergency situations. What you include in your emergency kit will depend somewhat on where you live, where you are traveling, and the season. For example, you probably won’t ever need an ice scraper if you live in Hawaii. That said, it’s always better to be overprepared than to be underprepared. So err on the side of caution when assembling your car emergency kit.

All-Year Items to Keep In Your Car Emergency Kit

No matter your location or the season, you should aim to keep all of the following items in your car emergency kit:

  1. Reflective triangles and flares. These are useful if your car breaks down on the side of the road. They warn other drivers of your position so they don’t accidentally hit you. Flares can also help signal where you are so help can find you.
  2. Flashlight. This helps you see in the dark if you ever get stranded at night. It also helps others see you. Keep extra batteries, too, just in case the flashlight dies.
  3. Jumper cables. If your car battery ever dies, you’ll need to jumpstart it with a set of jumper cables and another vehicle. Don’t want to rely on another vehicle? Throw in a separate battery pack so you can jumpstart your car on your own.
  4. First aid kit. This is a must-have. A first aid kit can help you address minor wounds while on the road. Buy a premade kit for as low as a few dollars or assemble your own custom kit.
  5. Spare tire, car jack, and tire iron. These items can help you get back on the road after getting a flat tire. Just make sure you know how to use them and check the equipment about every six months to make sure it’s all in good order (e.g. that the spare tire is properly inflated).
  6. Food and water. You never know how long you could get stranded in your car before you get help. So keep some non-perishable food in your emergency kit (think granola bars, nuts, and freeze-dried food). The same goes for water. Keep plenty on hand to quench your thirst (individual bottles are best so that the water thaws faster if frozen). Plus, it’s nice to have a backup snack and drink if you ever forget to pack some.
  7. Cell phone charger / extra battery. In an emergency, you may need to call 911 or a family member. Keep a cell phone charger and an extra battery on hand so you don’t risk your phone battery dying in your moment of need.
  8. Waterproof matches. These can be helpful for making a fire to provide some light and warmth, and they take up hardly any space.
  9. Paper map. Let’s say your phone dies and you can’t use its GPS for navigating. In this case, it’s helpful to have a paper map on hand.
  10. Window-breaking tool. In the event that you get trapped in your car and the doors won’t open, a window-breaking tool can help you break the windows to escape. Most also double as a seatbelt cutter so you can cut yourself loose from a stuck seatbelt.
  11. Tow strap. If your car ever gets stuck (e.g. in the mud or a ditch), you can attach a tow strap to it and another vehicle to pull your car out.
  12. Fire extinguisher. This can help put out any car fires, which are especially dangerous since there are a lot of flammable chemicals inside your car (e.g. gas and oil).

Winter Items to Keep In Your Car Emergency Kit

In the winter (or when you live in an especially cold climate), make sure to include the following additional items in your car emergency kit:

  1. Ice scraper / snow brush. This is to help get any ice and snow off your windows. Without one, you’ll have to wait a while for your defroster to melt it all away.
  2. Snow chains. These give your tires more traction in the snow to help prevent you from getting stuck.
  3. A snow shovel. This helps you dig away snow under your tires if you ever get stuck. A small, collapsible snow shovel can do the job.
  4. Warm clothing. This could include hats, gloves, scarves, and more. They’re to keep you warm, e.g. if you ever get stuck overnight in a snowstorm.
  5. Blankets. These are to keep you warm as well. But they are also very versatile. Use them for impromptu picnics or to stargaze at night.
  6. Bag of cat litter. No, this isn’t to accommodate your pet cat. It’s another way to give your tires more traction if they get stuck in the snow. Pour it in front of tires that are spinning to give them something extra coarse to grab onto.
  7. Multi-wick candles. These are great for providing some heat and light if you want to save your car battery. They can even be used to cook or warm up food.
  8. Hatchet. This can come in handy if you’re ever forced to camp out for the night. Instead of freezing, you can try to chop up some wood to make a campfire.

Wrapping It Up

There’s no such thing as being too prepared. Start putting together your car emergency kit today so that you are better equipped to face whatever emergency comes up. When disaster strikes, you’ll be glad you did.