10 Essentials for a Car Emergency Kit

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When you get stranded on the road, chances are it’s just you and your car. You never know how long it can take to receive help during a car emergency, so it’s important to be prepared with your own equipment. In order to avoid the agony of pushing your vehicle, sleeping in it or waiting for someone to find you, you’ll want to put together a handy car emergency kit that has the necessary tools to get you back on the road safely. A car emergency kit can be as detailed or as simple as you’d like, but there are certain items you’ll need to have on-hand for quick and effective assistance. Here are 10 essentials for a car emergency kit:

  • Jumper Cables
    Jumper cables will help jumpstart a dead battery. Be sure to pack a good set of cables with thick wire and clean clamps. Of course you’ll need another vehicle to connect the jumper cables, but once you can get someone to help, you’ll be on your way in no time.
  • First Aid Kit
    A first aid kit will come in handy if you or your passengers have any minor injuries that need to be cleaned and bandaged. Most first aid kits include bandages, gauze, antiseptics, antibiotic ointments, pain relievers and other useful materials.
  • Two-Way Emergency Radio
    If you’re stranded, a two-way emergency radio will help you reach dispatchers and notify drivers of your location, as well as allow you to listen to traffic reports and emergency messages within a certain mile range.
  • Roadside Flares
    Flares are used for signaling distress when you’re in an area with limited visibility, and need to get the attention of drivers, police officers and emergency vehicles passing by. Be sure to pack four or more flares with you and use them wisely.
  • Portable Gas Can
    Carrying an empty gas can will help if you run out of gas on the road. Once you reach a gas station, you can fill up your gas can, return to your vehicle and refuel it for the time being.
  • Flashlights
    A flashlight will illuminate the area around and inside your car, under the hood and underneath your car. You will also need a flashlight during the nighttime, while walking around outside and signaling drivers for help.
  • Cell Phone Charger
    In a car emergency, cell phones really are a lifesaver. Unfortunately, a cell phone is no good to you if its battery is dead. Therefore, always pack your car emergency kit with a cell phone charger that will charge while the car is off.
  • Pen and Paper
    If you don’t have a cell phone or car charger, emergency radio or any other form of communication, a simple pen and paper will allow you to make a “help me” sign that will catch the attention of drivers.
  • Water
    If you’re stranded, water will keep you hydrated and sane as you wait for assistance. Be sure to pack enough water for each passenger and any pets.
  • Pocket Knife or Multi-tool
    A pocket knife or multi-tool can be used for basic utilitarian purposes, fixing car parts and as a self-defense weapon. Be sure to keep it within your reach, but away from children.
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