Everyone should prepare for common roadside emergencies by stocking up their car with a few essentials. A little forethought can save a great deal of stress and trauma whether it’s in your morning commute, on your way camping, or in the dead of winter. Some of these items are commonly thought of while others may come as a surprise.
A spare tire, tire iron, and a scissor jack are essentials for any vehicle. If your rims require a special key to remove, make sure that’s in the car as well. Verify that your spare is in good shape and fully inflated. WD-40 is not essential, but excellent to help loosen stuck bolts.
A tire inflator and sealer, like Fix-a-Flat, can hold your tire together if it gets a leak until you can make it to a tire shop. It’s a decent alternative to changing a flat in unsafe conditions. If you’re just a bit low on air pressure, a small portable air compressor really comes in handy.
Jumper cables can help you start your car if you forget to turn your lights off or let you be the good guy if you run across someone in a bind. Here are some good instructions on how to jump start your car.
A tire gauge should also be tucked in the glove box; checking pressure regularly can improve the handling of your ride, improve gas mileage, and extend the life of your tires.
Duct tape. You can never have enough duct tape tucked away. An astonishing number of things can be temporarily fixed with a bit of duct tape.
First Aid and Safety
- A well-stocked first aid kit. If you use items from it, replace them. Check for expiration dates; when stuff is no longer useful, replace that too.
- A flashlight to find your way in the dark and flares or reflective triangles to ensure others are warned of your presence in the dark.
- Energy bars or MREs and water bottles to tide you over if you get stuck in your car for an extended period of time.
- Likewise, carry a mylar space blanket to keep you warm in extreme cold conditions.
- If your area gets snow, a square of spare carpet or cardboard to stuff under the tires can help you get unstuck.
- A weather radio is inexpensive and can serve as a lifeline while you wait for conditions to clear up.
- A seat belt cutter and window breaker is inexpensive and also might save your life.
- A multipurpose tool is handy all around. Do a little shopping to find one with the best variety of tools.
- An ice scraper to get you on the road more quickly when those unexpected storms happen.
- Paper towels and tissues for unexpected messes.
- A trash bag, old grocery bags work well. Tupperware cereal containers or refillable dish detergent pod boxes make awesome storage devices for the trash.
- Umbrellas for unexpected squalls; likewise, a change of clothes if you suddenly find yourself covered in mud or drenched.
- The car manual can come in handy at unexpected times; keep it in the glovebox.
- A writing implement and something to write on if you need to jot down directions, recall a number, or leave a message.
- A paper map can help you find your way home if your mobile device dies.
- Along with insurance information and your registration, keep cards for your mechanic, a towing company, and any roadside assistance numbers you can call.
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