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The Ultimate Car Emergency Kit

Every car needs an emergency kit which prepares you for any mishap you may encounter while on the open road. We’ve compiled a comprehensive selection of items that every emergency kit needs to have. If you’re looking for the best products out there, simply click any of our links to be taken straight to carefully chosen product from Amazon’s best-sellers. You don’t need to start with the best of the best for every item, but make sure that most of the list of covered. An emergency kit can be upgraded at any time but what you find in the kit is critical to safety and recovery should an accident occur.

flashlight-emergency-kit

Durable Flashlight

Every vehicle needs a durable, water resistant handheld flashlight. While most phones have a flashlight app these days, in an emergency you may find yourself without cell power, and if you need to dig around under the car to change a tire, it’s better to place a flashlight on the ground than your phone.

Make sure that your flashlight is fully charged with fresh batteries, and it’s always a good idea to keep an extra set of batteries on hand.

microfiber-towels

Towels

You need a good microfiber cloth and a few disposable towels or wipes just in case you need to clean up a mess. The best microfiber cleaning cloths are available in large packs removing the need for any other type of towels in your emergency kit. Their excellent absorbency and small size makes them a convenient part of a car emergency kit. A full size towel kept in the trunk is also a good idea to dry yourself off should you get caught in the rain with a disabled vehicle.

Windshield Wiper Fluid

A de-icing wiper fluid is forever invaluable to anyone who lives in areas which receive snowfall. There’ll be no more worry about not being able to see out of your windshield, especially in cold condiions

Blanket

Getting stuck in a disabled vehicle in cold weather can be dangerous, especially overnight as temperatures drop further. We recommend both a warm blanket in case you break down and an emergency blanket. Thermal blankets are essential to surviving the cold if things go south. A good thermal blanket will help you retain up to 90% of your body heat while blocking the rain, snow and all moisture completely. A smaller conventional microfleece blanket is also recommended to stay comfortable in cold conditions.

Jump Start Kit

Booster Cables

A high-quality set of booster cables is needed by every vehicle owner. Alternatively, you could go a step further and get yourself a jump-start kit. This gives you enough charge to boost your own car if your battery runs dead.

Emergency Reflectors

Your vehicle may have come with them in your spare tire kit, but if not, go for either a standard set of essential emergency triangle reflectors or opt for something high-end with higher safety like an illuminated emergency beacon disk. Powered by an LED, these disks ensure maximum visibility and give multiple flashing modes.

Spare Tire and Jack

A spare tire and car jack should be included as part of your vehicle’s own kit in the trunk, but if they aren’t, they’re one of the first things you should buy as part of your emergency kit, as a large portion of roadside emergencies are caused by flat or damaged tires. A standard scissor jack should work. Whatever you do, do not drive on a flat or damaged tire, as it is highly dangerous to both you and the other vehicles around you.

Portable Charger & Batteries

Extra batteries of all sizes used by anything in your car or on your person are highly recommended. A power bank personal charger is also quite handy to charge your phone in emergencies. It can also make all the difference in an emergency situation where you need all the extra battery power that you can get.

First Aid Kit

Make sure that you’ve always got a completed first aid kit in your car. Some of the best value is provided by complete survival kits that give you medical-grade supplies and all the tools you need to treat any medical situation until emergency services arrive. Compact and affordable, they remove the guesswork. All that you may want to pay are your choice of painkillers and perhaps some anti-inflammatories.

Spare Fuses for Your Car

Make sure that you’ve got a full set for spare fuses on hand at all times. This is especially useful and will come in handy should your electrical system fail in cold weather.

Extra Vehicle Supplies

Pack in extra antifreeze, a few extra quarts of oil, washer fluid and some bottled water for both drinking and use in the car. Extra water is always needed. You may also want to pack a mobile tool kit with screwdrivers, pliers, a vice grip, wrench and possibly a portable tire inflator as well.

Winter Vehicle Emergency Kit

If you live in an area where temperatures can dip below freezing and snow, here are some additional supplies you should include in your Roadside Emergency Kit:

snow gloves emergency kit

Gloves / Mittens

When it comes to gloves and mittens you have tons of options at your disposal. Just make sure that you buy something that will keep you warm at subfreezing temperatures. Unisex ski gloves are great as they are both warm and waterproof in case you must be outside the vehicle in snowfall to dig your car out for an extended period of time

Another option is to take an old set of winter gloves you no longer wear and put them in your vehicle’s glovebox.

ice scraper emergency kit

Ice Scraper

It’s critical to scrape the ice off of all windows and headlights of your vehicle before driving, so that you can get full visibility- and so other cars can see you. If you decide to carry a separate ice scraper in your emergency kit rather than an all-in-one snow brush, then pick something that is virtually indestructible and small enough to fit in the trunk or glovebox.

snow shovel emergency kit

Portable Snow Shovel

Collapsible and folding snow shovels are an essential part of every emergency kit should you get snowed in and need to dig your tires out and clear a path to drive. A foldable model will fit nicely in the trunk of your car without taking up too much space

snow brush emergency kit

Snow Brush

Most good snow brushes will also come with an ice scraper. Be on the lookout for a brush with good customer feedback. An extendable snow brush is ideal for areas that get a lot of snow and for larger vehicles that you need to remove snow from the top and sides on.

Traction Mats

Traction mats are one of the handiest things to have in the case of getting stuck in snow, mud or sand. Most incidents will be resolved without the need for a tow truck as long as you have a traction mat or two on hand. Traction tracks and traction mats should definitely be considered for anyone who spends any time driving in cold weather. In a pinch, the floormats of your car can be used instead.

Abrasive Material Like Sand, Salt or Cat Litter

Pack a container or bag or sand, salt or cat litter to handle extremely icy roads. You’ll be happy that you did when the worst weather and black ice is encountered.

Your Car Emergency Kit – An Investment in Safety

Many car owners like to keep a non-perishable selection of snacks in their emergency kit as well. You can also consider a change of clothes and light toiletries. Battery powered radios are great and crank radios are even more reliable should an emergency arise. A compact sleeping bag should be considered for each passenger when traveling long distances. Keep a map of the area with you if it’s unfamiliar. A solar battery charger is just as handy, as is a good GPS unit with emergency features. Snow and ice add a whole new level of risk to traveling our roads. Make sure that your vehicle is stocked with everything that you need to brave the cold if things go wrong. A car emergency kit is an investment that you can continue to expand as you discover more and more ways to increase your safety and comfort.

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