Roadside emergencies happen every day and the only way to survive these emergencies is to be completely prepared. There are things that experts recommend that you carry in your vehicle at all times. Many of these items are basic needs that every driver should have with them while others can potentially save you from a hazardous situation. If you own a car or truck, you should always make sure that you have certain items with you to avoid potentially dangerous situations.
Whether you are planning a long road trip or you are simply driving to work each day, certain items should always be in your vehicle and we have composed a list of these items and categorized them so that you know what you need and why you need it. The basics such as a spare tire, jumper cables and other auto needs are listed but there are many items that you may have never even considered keeping in your vehicle. Most of the essentials will fit perfectly into a flat, under the bed bin so that you can easily store it in your trunk or under the seat in your SUV or truck.
Some emergencies can be avoided if you have the right supplies with you. Ensuring that you are prepared for inclement weather for instance, is critical when you are driving. For those unforeseen emergencies, always ensure that you carry the following items with you at all times.
- An emergency cell phone charger – You can purchase an emergency cell phone charger that will give you at least an hour of power should your cell phone battery go dead during an emergency.
- Cat Litter – Cat litter is essential during snow and ice. If you get stuck, you can simply pour the litter behind tires to give yourself enough traction to get unstuck.
- Jumper cables – This goes without saying. You always need to ensure that you have jumper cables in your vehicle.
- First-Aid Kit – A first-aid kit should include Band-Aids as well as antiseptic, adhesive tape and gauze, pain relievers and some sort of antiseptic ointment.
- Fix-A-Flat – Fix-A-Flat is essential for those times when your tire may go flat and you are in the middle of nowhere. It can give you enough air in the tires to get your vehicle to a safe location.
- Flashlight – Flashlights are an important part of any vehicle emergency kit for obvious reasons.
- Tow Straps – You want to be certain that you have a tow strap available just in case you slide off the road and need something that can pull you back out. Tow straps should be strong enough to pull at least 6,000 pounds.
- Snow shovel – Even a small portable shovel can come in handy when you are stuck in snow or mud.
- Ice Scraper – Never, ever leave home during the winter months without an ice scraper so that you can easily eliminate ice on your windshield before driving.
- Blanket – You should always store a blanket in the trunk, particularly during colder weather. In the event you get stalled or stopped along the roadside during cold weather, the blanket will help to prevent heat loss from your body.
- Multipurpose Knife – A Swiss army knife or similar multipurpose tool will come in handy for many things if and when you are ever stuck in your vehicle.
- Extra Batteries – You want to be sure to have at least a full change of batteries for all of your emergency essentials that use batteries.
- Gloves – Gloves will help to prevent frostbite during the rigid winter months and can come in handy for mechanic work when needed.
- Waterproof Matches – In the event you are stranded and need to start a fire (outside the vehicle of course) to stay warm, you need to have at least one package of waterproof matches or some other fire starter.
- Light Sticks – Light sticks or flares are essential in drawing attention to your vehicle if you are stranded along a deserted road.
- Sunblock and Bug Repellent – For summer months, sunblock and bug repellent is essential for any time that you need to be outside of the vehicle.
- Maps – Before you embark on any road trip, be sure that you have at least one map that shows where you are going and how to get there, even if you know the directions by heart.
- Collapsible Bags – Nylon bags that collapse can easily be stored in the trunk and when something happens that you have to leave your vehicle, in flooding scenarios for instance when you have to head to higher ground, you can carry several essentials with you easier when you have a bag to tote them in.
If you are planning a road trip or even when you are traveling during extremely hot or extremely cold months, it is important that you have certain survival or sustenance essentials with you. You can fit all of these into a relatively small tote or bag and store them in the trunk.
- Energy bars – Just one small box of energy bars will go a long way in helping you to survive if you face a roadside emergency. Choose higher calorie bars and be sure to rotate your stock about every couple of months.
- Water – Water is a must in any vehicle. Always keep a gallon or a few water bottles on hand. Not only do you need water for survival, it can also come in handy if your vehicle overheats or if you get mud or ice on the windshield and you need to wash it off.
- Nuts – Nuts such as peanuts, almonds and others have a lot of protein and can help to tide you over until you get to somewhere that food is available.
- Sports Drinks – Gatorade and other sports drinks are great in extreme heat. These drinks can return essential electrolytes to your body so if your car breaks down and you need to walk in extreme heat, just one sports drink can help to keep you from dehydrating.
- Hard Candy – Hard candy is great for a quick boost of sugar and is easily stored. It can last in the car for several months so there is no need to rotate it as often as other foods.
- Dry Cereal – Dry cereal is a great source of sugar and is especially helpful when you are taking younger children on long road trips.
- Trail Mix – Trail mix can give you protein, sugar and other essential nutrients which could potentially save your life if you are stuck in your car for several days. Be sure that you do not store trail mix that contains chocolate in the car during the warmer months because the chocolate will melt.
You need to know that you are safe in your vehicle at all times. It is important that you carry certain things with you so that if you get into an accident, find yourself having to stay in a hotel overnight unexpectedly or have other issues, you know that you and your family are safe.
- Cash – While you certainly do not want to carry a lot of cash in your vehicle at all times, it is important to have a little cash stuck back for emergencies. If you are in an area that has suffered a power outage, ATMs are not going to work so having enough cash for gasoline, food or an overnight stay is important. Also be sure to have a bit of loose change at all times in the event you need to stop and purchase drinks or snacks from vending machines.
- Disposable Camera – You can keep a disposable or an inexpensive digital camera in your trunk. This is important for potential accidents. You should be able to document damage done to your vehicle or a license plate number in the event someone hits your car.
- Pepper Spray – Especially if you are traveling in an area where you have never been, it is important to keep pepper spray in your vehicle to protect you from potential muggers or others who may wish to do you harm.
When traveling with the family, it is important that you have certain items in your vehicle to make them comfortable, particularly in situations where you may be stuck in the vehicle for a while or where you may be forced to spend the night somewhere at the last minute.
- Toilet Paper – You should always keep at least a roll or two of toilet paper with you, particularly if you have young children who are traveling with you. You can save room by removing the cardboard tubes from the rolls and flattening them
- Hand Sanitizer – Keep a small bottle of sanitizer with you and store it in a plastic bag to avoid leaking.
- Toothbrush – Keep a toothbrush for all members of the family along with a tube of toothpaste. You can pick up sample sizes of toothpaste and even travel toothbrushes to save room. Store them all in a plastic bag.
- Trash Bags – Trash bags can come in handy for a number of purposes. In a toilet emergency, you can use a trash bag to line a bucket and they are good to have for cleaning up. They can also be used as emergency rain ponchos to keep you dry in the event you have to walk in the rain.
- Baby Wipes – Baby wipes, soap and other disinfecting and cleaning supplies should be stored together in a plastic bag.
- Plastic tablecloth – You can use a plastic tablecloth to cover areas before eating or even for a quick diaper changing pad if needed.
- Duct Tape – You don’t really need a specific reason for having duct tape. There is always something that you can use duct tape for.
In the event you have to be in your vehicle for quite some time, you should think about taking along a few essentials to keep yourself and others entertained. Even if you have a DVD player in your vehicle, consider the possibility of the player not working for one reason or another. There are other things that you can take along to help pass the time when needed.
- Cards – Playing cards can really come in handy, particularly with children, to help pass the time.
- Books – Pack a few books for family members of all ages. Inspirational books and even journals can help to pass the time.
Pens and Pencils – Drawing pads and pencils are great for children when it comes to sitting in a vehicle for long periods of time.