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12 Car Emergency Kit Must Have’s

Preparing your car with an emergency kit can make all the difference when it comes to surviving a roadside emergency. A roadside emergency can be either your car breaking down, road flooding, a blizzard, tornado or any other catastrophe. I’ve helped create a list of a few common (and uncommon) essentials that you will want to make sure are stored in your car emergency kit.

This post may contain affiliate links. All opinions are my own.

List of Essential Items You Will Need In Your Car Emergency Kit

1. Water

Keep enough bottled water in your car that would last for 3 days should you ever find yourself stuck in an emergency situation. Water is the most important thing we need to stay alive. Aside from the obvious health reasons, water is also know to keep you alert.

If you find yourself in a stranded situation on the side of the road, you will want to make sure you have enough water to survive. Remember that if you are in cold temperatures, water will expand and freeze. If you are able to also pack a portable water purifier, this will help guarantee you have water even if you run out by being able to purify rain water, snow, or other sources of water.

2. Food

Much like water, you will need non-perishable food to survive, and keep yourself strong. Make sure you keep 3 days worth of food in your car emergency kit.

Look for foods that don’t need to be refrigerated and also won’t need to be cooked. Aim to have a few cans of canned goods, a few boxes of protein bars and a few bags of dried fruit. When picking out food for your emergency kit, make sure you choose foods that are full of nutrition and will provide you with high energy.

Stay away from foods that will spoil and foods that are high in salt. Salty foods may cause your body to dehydrate (especially if you only have a limited supply of water). If you have someone in your family who has allergies, consider them when choosing food as well, as you never know who may be in the car with you should an emergency arise.

If you are packing cans, do not forget to pack a can opener! Something so simple will cause you to starve if you don’t remember to pack it with your canned goods!

3. Battery

While jumper cables may be ideal to keep in your car for day-today travels, it likely won’t save you if you are stranded on the side of the road by yourself. Therefore, a spare battery is the better option for your emergency car kit. This will be especially important if all you need to get going is to fix a dead battery.

However, before you invest in a spare battery, be sure your car will provide the optimal storage location for it. It should be able to be secure in the back of the trunk so that it doesn’t move around. You should also learn how to install a new battery so that you’re able to (with the right tools) should an emergency arise.

4. Flashlight

This is great a great tool to keep in your car for various reasons. Something as simple as a flat tire at night will benefit from having a flashlight to look things over. Always choose flashlights instead of candles as this is a safer alternative.

If your flashlights take batteries (and aren’t solar powered), be sure to keep spare batteries on hand. If you’re stranded for many nights, you will definitely need to replace the batteries at some point.

5. First Aid Kit

Even if you don’t end up in a situation where you find yourself stranded, a first aid kit is a great thing to have in your car. Whether you’re driving and something happens, or you’re at a park and an accident occurs. It’s great to have a first aid kit that you’re able to quickly locate in times of emergencies.

A small first aid kit will help cover small cuts, scrapes, and other minor injuries. There are more serious first aid kits if you want to be super prepared though! These will include bandages, medical tools, and medication.

RELATED: Create a Shoebox Emergency Kit for $44

6. Mask

In case of toxic accidents, it’s good to be prepared with a respirator or a gas mask. While getting stuck in this situation is highly unlikely, there’s no harm in being extra prepared.

Should there be a fire on the side of the road, a toxic explosion for a truck carrying hazardous materials, or any other air pollutant that will put your health at risk, it will be nice to be prepared. Additionally, look into spare filters.

7. Personal Hygiene Products

While you don’t need personal hygiene products to survive, you do need them to stay healthy. It is essential that you have a way of cleaning your hands before you eat, and cleaning your mouth out of any nasty germs that may be lurking.

It’s also great to have things like nail clippers, tweezers, and flossers. These are all hygiene products that can also be used as other tools should the need arise.

8. Important Documents

Make sure you have with you copies of all of your important documents pertaining to your car and health. If you are in an accident that leaves you incapacitated, it will be important for paramedics (or bystanders) to have access to important documents like who you are and any other medical issues that the medics should be aware of.

Make a list of medical conditions, allergies, and medications you are on and keep it in your glove compartment.

9. Baby/Children Supplies

If you have a baby or children, be sure that your car is stock for them as well. This may include binkies, spare bottles and formula, toys, cobs, lovies (to keep them comforted) and blankets.

You can also include a few small games or books for older children.

It is imperative that you include blankets in your emergency car kit. If your car breaks down in the winter, sleeping bags or blankets will be the only thing you have to keep warm.

Make sure you include at least one blanket per family member.

10. Radio

This is another crucial item that is a must have in your emergency car kit. A radio will keep you updated on things happening in your immediate vicinity, and some will even provide a way for you to radio out to call for help.

Other radios are so much more than just an emergency radio. They also have a flashlight attached, a charging port, and an outlet included. Look for a radio that best suits your family’s needs.

11. Money

Having cash on hand is always important for emergencies. You can use it to get help, or if you’re within walking distance to a store, you’ll be able to buy necessities.

This can be important if there is a statewide blackout and no machines are working. Of course, I don’t recommend keeping a lot of cash in your car, but if you can hide $100 or a few $20’s, you should be set for a minor emergency.

It’s also good to have hidden money in your car for the rare chance that you forget your wallet at home.

12. Clothes

Traveling can be unpredictable. Accidents happen, sometimes the weather changes when you get to where you’re going, or sometimes you end up stranded in a location for longer than you anticipated. Having spare clothes is a great addition to have in your car emergency kit.

In case of children’s accidents, having spare undies, pants, and tops should be in your car at all times. Additionally, there should be sweatshirts for those times that things get a little chillier than you expected.

Here is an infograph guide that is easy to print and use as a checklist!

Every car should have an emergency kit in it.

What did you think of the “car battery” point? Will you include a spare battery in your emergency kit, or is that going too far? Let me know in the comments below!

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