Everyone should prepare for common roadside emergencies by stocking their car with a few essentials. A little forethought can save a great deal of stress and trauma. 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 suits your car. 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 an auto shop. Decent alternative to changing a flat in unsafe conditions.
- 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.
- 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.
- When it’s time to go, 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.