The best car emergency kits prepare you for worst case scenarios without taking up too much space. Stock up on these supplies to help stay safe in an emergency.
Common car emergency kit components
The major components of car emergency kits will help you get through various emergencies:
- Jumper cables: Most people have experienced a dead battery at some point, so a set of jumper cables is always handy to have on hand.
- Flashlight and batteries: A flashlight is always convenient in case you have to walk in the dark or check under the hood.
- First aid kit: Your car should always have at least basic first aid materials such as adhesive bandages, antiseptic ointment and gauze.
- Basic tools: Basic tools like a screwdriver with interchangeable heads and a set of wrenches can come in handy in many situations. Duct tape and bungee cords are useful too.
- Scraper, brush and shovel: During harsh winter weather, tools for cleaning snow may mean the difference between driving on and getting stuck.
- Safety sign, road flare, whistle: These tools will attract attention when you’re in trouble.
- Compass: Learning how to read a compass could help you find your way if you’re lost.
- Emergency blanket: These include a silver metalized layer that reflects body heat back to you. It could be a life saver if you’re stranded in the wild.
- Roadside assistance: Some kits include roadside assistance service, so ensure that you’re always carrying a charged cell phone.
Factors to consider when buying a car emergency kit
Consider which kit would be best for you and the locations you’re likely to go in your vehicle.
- Size: Many emergency kits are extremely compact so that you don’t have to waste space to stay safe.
- Climate: In harsh climates, consider kits built specifically for the conditions where you’re are most likely to be. A winter survival kit or heavy duty emergency blanket are reliable choices for colder climates.
- Emergency food: Foods that won’t go bad, such as power bars and water, are always a good addition to an emergency kit.
- Personal additions: Emergency kits won’t include personal items like medicines so make sure there’s a supply in yours.
- Cell phone: A cell phone with charged battery and service can dramatically improve an emergency situation. Consider carrying a portable back-up cell phone charger.
It’s easy to drive without a car emergency kit until you need one, but getting one just in case is both smart and proactive because even well-maintained vehicles sometimes break down. Feel safe and be prepared with a supply of emergency essentials on hand.