Whether you experience a flat tire, slip off a snowy road or get lost in a winter storm, a car emergency kit can help you get back on the road safely and quickly.
Keep your cell phone with you in the car, especially on longer trips. Make sure your cell phone is charged every time you get in the car and keep a cell phone charger in your car.
CAR EMERGENCY KIT LIST
Keep the below items in a bag in your trunk. Ideally, try a clear heavy-duty plastic TUB container so it’s easy to see and locate everything. You can buy a pre-packaged kit or create your own.
In an emergency situation, in addition to a full tank of gas and fresh antifreeze, the National Safety Council recommends having these with you at all times:
- Blankets, mittens, socks, and hats.
- Ice scraper and snow brush
- Flashlight, plus extra batteries (or a hand-crank flashlight)
- Jumper cables. Or a car backup battery jumper system. These can charge a dead battery and get you started…and they can charge a cell phone as well.
- First-aid kit (bandages, adhesive tape, antiseptic wipes, gauze pads, antiseptic cream, medical wrap).
- Bottled water
- Energy bars, dried fruit, crackers, chocolate or other non-perishable food.
- Multi-tool (such as a Leatherman Tool or a Swiss Army Knife)
- Small tool kit with pliers, screwdriver, adjustable wrench, electrical tape.
- Road flares or reflective warning triangles
- Windshield cleaner
Extra Supplies for Frigid Weather
For those in wintry snowy areas, add the below items to your emergency kit. (If it’s balmy all winter where you live, be thankful that you don’t need all of this stuff!)
- A bag of sand to help with traction (or bag of non-clumping cat litter)
- Collapsible or folding snow shovel
- Tire chains and tow strap
- Hand warmers
- Winter boots for longer trips
- Sleeping bag for longer trips
Note: Use a non-salt ice melter for de-icing driveways and roads (Note: Rock salt can damage vegetation and contaminate groundwater. So, with this in mind, salt your driveway only when you must, and try not to oversalt.)
- Small fire extinguisher (5-lb., Class B and Class C type) in case of a car fire
- Tire gauge to check inflation pressure in all four tires and the spare tire
- Jack and lug wrench to change a tire
- Rags and hand cleaner (such as baby wipes)
- Duct tape
- Foam tire sealant for minor tire punctures
- Rain poncho
- Battery or hand-crank–powered radio
- Small shovel
- Tow strap
- Lighter and box of matches (in a waterproof container)
- Scissors and string or cord
- Spare change and cash ($1’s and $5’s)
- Paper maps
- Spare cell phone