You never know what can happen when you’re out on the road. To make sure you’re prepared for a breakdown, you should always have an emergency kit packed in your vehicle with the following necessary items.
1. First Aid Kit
The most essential item in your car emergency kit is a first aid kit. You can buy pre-made kits that include everything you need or you can put together your own kit with what you already have in your home. Regardless of which option you choose, your first aid should include the following:
- Antibiotic ointment
- Hand sanitizer
- Gauze pads
- Cotton balls
2. Jumper Cables
Sometimes the battery in your vehicle simply requires a jump to get going again. In this case, you’ll be glad you had a set of jumper cables in your emergency kit. However, jumper cables only work if you have another car that can give you a jump. You might want to consider a battery with attached jumper cables. Some options even come with outlets to recharge phones or other mobile devices.
3. Cellphone Charger
Your cellphone is a lifeline if you’re stranded in the middle of nowhere. However, it can only help you if it has a charged battery. You can include a backup cellphone charger in your emergency kit, but if your car battery is dead or you’re trying to conserve battery power, this might not help. In this case, consider including a solar phone charger in addition to your regular charger. Solar phone chargers let you power up your phone anywhere you get sunlight.
4. Food and Water
Food and water are two other important items you’ll want for your car emergency kit. When you’re choosing food items, look for non-perishable snacks and high-calorie options. This can include energy bars, jerky, almonds, dried fruit, tuna packs, and cereal. If you get trail mix, be sure you choose one without chocolate, which will melt in the high temperature of your vehicle. You’ll want to make sure you have enough bottled water for everyone traveling with you, and you can even consider packing a sports drink mix to add to the water for extra flavor and calories.
5. Weather-Related Items
You should always tailor your emergency kit to the weather you’ll be driving in. Therefore, you’ll need to add and subtract items throughout the year to keep up with the changing seasons. For example, you’ll want to make sure your emergency kit has an ice scraper when you’re traveling in the winter. In the summer, a battery-powered fan can help keep you cool while you’re waiting for help to arrive.
If your vehicle breaks down, you don’t know how long it will take for help to arrive. The last thing to include in your emergency kit is some entertainment. Consider a book, pack of cards, pen and paper, or something else that can help you pass the time.
Before you head out on your next trip, make sure you have a roadside emergency kit packed with these essential items.