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10 Must-Have Items to Include in an Emergency Car Kit

Updated on February 25, 2013

Car Emergency Kit

Car Emergency Kit
Car Emergency Kit | Source

Why This Article?

Even the most expensive car on the road can get blindsided by old man winter. Icy roads, whiteouts and blizzards can make for a harrowing drive, and hundreds of drivers are left stranded each season, due to the treacherous conditions. No matter how many vehicle reviews sites you visit, or how many car sales people you speak with, there is really no way to prevent getting stranded if you find yourself in the middle of a snow squall. That’s why it’s important to keep an emergency kit with you at all times. Here are 10 must-haves to include in your emergency car kit.

1. Water

While humans get go without food for long periods of time, water is a completely different story. Keep at least five to six water bottles filled at all times. If they are put into smaller size containers, they will defrost easier.

2. Flares

These are helpful in daylight and most essential at night. Put flares around your vehicle so people can see your vehicle. Nothing is worse than being stranded and being hit by a car. Keep in mind that flares should only be used as a warning signal, not as a light source.

3. Food

Obviously, steak dinners are out of the question, but snacks such as trail mix, granola bars and even chocolate can keep you going strong.

4. Blanket/Sleeping Bag

You’ll need to stay warm, so be sure to include a fleece blanket or winter sleeping bag. While you are waiting for help to arrive, it will keep you from turning into a Popsicle.

5. Shovel/Tools

Even the most expensive car can get stuck in the snow. A shovel will help you dig out of the ditch or high snow pile, and tools such as an all-purpose knife can provide whatever you need in a flash.

6. Flashlight

A flashlight will help you see in the dark, when no street lights are available. There are many styles and sizes available. Be sure to check it regularly to ensure you have a healthy battery.

7. Sand/Kitty Litter

A bag should be in your trunk all winter long, to help with traction, but when you’re stuck on ice, it can give you the boost you need to get the tires to meet the pavement and get you on the move again.

8. Tow Rope/Chain

When a Good Samaritan comes along to help, they may not have the necessary chains or ropes to get you out of the ditch. Always be prepared by having your own items close at hand.

9. Jumper Cables

This goes with the point above; unless you’ve called for a tow truck or emergency roadside service, jumper cables may not be in everyone’s trunk. Make sure you have them, and you know how to use them.

10. First Aid Kit

Band-Aids, gauze, ointments, soap and pain relievers can give you the aid you need until help arrives.

Bottom Line

When you search through car reviews sites and visit car sales lots, you want to know what the most reliable vehicles are, and which ones handle the best in winter conditions. This is powerful knowledge, but it can’t account for other people’s driving habits; if you get cut off, and end up in the ditch, or your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, it’s nice to know that you have some emergency items that will keep you safe and warm until help arrives.

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    • krillco profile image

      William E Krill Jr 

      5 years ago from Hollidaysburg, PA

      Well done! When my kids got to owning a car stage, I gave each of them a similar kit. I would add something, though: a candle and lighter. We live in a cold climate in winter, and a candle, believe it or not, can keep you pretty warm in a car. I'd also add that I prefer flashlights that have generator-crank handles, so no batteries to run out.

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