20 Things That Should Be in Your Roadside Emergency Kit

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Emergencies can happen at any time, to anyone on the road. Whether you have decades of experience behind the wheel, or you’ve only been driving for a year or two, there is always the possibility that something will go wrong, leaving you stranded, or even injured. Each season brings its own unique risk factors – ice and snow in the winter, heavy thunderstorms in the summer, spring winds and rains – and you must be prepared for them.

The simplest way is to ensure that you have a fully equipped roadside emergency kit. However, you need more than just a set of basic tools. Not sure what your kit should contain? Don’t worry. Here’s a list of the most important items for your roadside emergency kit.

20. Engine Coolant

Keep a jug of engine coolant in your kit just in case. Blown hoses, pinhole leaks and other issues can cause your car to run hot. With extra coolant on board, you’ll be able to top off easily.

19. Tire Pressure Gauge

Don’t get caught by a low tire. A tire pressure gauge ensures that you’re always able to set your tire pressure correctly, and check your tires on the go.

18. Spare Fuses

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A small package of spare fuses can be an incredibly handy thing to have, getting you back on the road in just a few minutes. Make sure the fuse kit you choose contains a range of fuse sizes, and a fuse puller.

17. Batteries

Keep spare batteries on hand for your accessories (like the flashlight) and regularly check them to ensure they’re still fresh and powered up (most batteries have a use-by or best-by date on the package).

16. Gloves

You’ll want two types of gloves – latex gloves for working under the hood, and warm, winter gloves in case you’re stranded during cold weather.

15. Multitool

A multitool contains a range of different options, from screwdriver blades to a saw, a knife blade, a bottle opener and more. It can serve almost any need in a pinch, and takes up only a couple of inches of space in your kit.

14. Flashlight

Something as simple as a flashlight can mean the difference between being stranded at night, and finding the cause of the problem. You have many choices here, including battery-powered flashlights. However, one of the more interesting options is a crank-operated flashlight, which means that you never need to worry about the batteries dying on you.

13. Jumper Cables

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Being without these can be a very real problem. Something as simple as a dead battery can put you in very real danger. Always keep a set of jumper cables in your car at all times

12. Ice Scraper

You’d be surprised at how many people neglect to keep an ice scraper in their car. It can be a real lifesaver during wintertime situations, though.

11. Nonperishable Food

Keep a few prepackaged, high-energy foods in the car. These can include things like energy bars or granola bars.

10. Bottled Water

Keeping a supply of fresh, drinkable water in your vehicle is a very smart move. Make sure you check the expiration date, or periodically refresh it, as water can become moldy.

9. Tape

You’ll need both duct tape and electrical tape to ensure that you can handle whatever challenge comes your way.

8. Engine Oil

Don’t get caught out low on engine oil. Make sure you carry at least one quart of oil in your vehicle at all times (two quarts would be better).

7. Road Flares

Road flares can provide warning for other motorists, as well as visibility for rescuers.

6. Warning Triangles

These simple, reflective triangles should be set up on the road behind your vehicle to warn oncoming motorists.

5. Blanket

An emergency blanket should definitely be part of your kit. Make sure you have one that’s rated for wintertime use, and also features a reflective coating (which can be used as an emergency signaling method in a pinch).

4. Set of Tools

You should carry a basic set of tools with you at all times. You’ll want to make sure you have the following at a minimum:

  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Flat head screw driver
  • Vise grips
  • Pliers
  • Hammer
  • Sockets and ratchet
  • A couple of wrenches

3. Fire Extinguisher

A compact fire extinguisher should be located in every vehicle you own. Make sure you have an ABC type, as it will work on both normal combustibles and on grease/oil fires, as well.

2. Cell Phone Charger and Battery Pack

Chances are good you have your cell phone on your person, but make sure you have a spare charger handy. You should also make sure you have a battery pack (charged) in case your car battery dies. Check the charge on the battery pack weekly to ensure that it doesn’t fail and leave you in the lurch.

1. First Aid Kit

You should have a fully stocked first aid kit located somewhere in your vehicle. It should contain a variety of bandage sizes, as well as tape, gauze, alcohol swabs and antibacterial cream. You can generally find these premade and available in stores. Don’t forget to regularly check the expiration date on any medicine in the kit.

Whether you’ve been driving for decades, or just got your license last year, it’s vital that you’re able to stay safe while on the road. A roadside emergency kit should contain all of these items at a minimum. You should also tailor your kit to the season in question. For example, extra bottled water would be a good idea during the summer, while a change of warm clothing would be an excellent addition during the winter. Keep yourself safe by planning ahead and being prepared. Remember – emergencies can happen to anyone, at any time.