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Making a Car Emergency Kit

Stay prepared by storing an emergency kit in your vehicle. We’ve got tips on what to pack.

It’s hard to predict what can happen when you’re out on the road, so it’s smart to be prepared. Road emergencies may be more common than you think. Even if you have a brand-new car, you should always be prepared for different situations on the road. Having necessary supplies on hand is essential for safety, especially if you regularly drive in harsh conditions or are going on a road trip. During inclement weather, you’re more likely to experience car issues. Aside from weather emergencies, you could run out of gas or experience a dead battery. In order to avoid extra delays in getting you back on the road, preparation is key. Keeping a car emergency kit in your vehicle is one step toward protecting you, your passengers and your vehicle. Consider these tips when stocking your emergency auto kit.

First-aid kit

Starting with the essentials, a basic car first-aid kit comes in handy in many situations. You should include adhesive bandages, antiseptic and antibiotic ointment, painkillers and wound cleaning supplies.1

Food and water

Next, stock up on food and water. In case you get stuck where you are, food and water will be essential. Before a longer trip, pack an emergency car kit with nonperishable food – specifically: protein bars, dry cereal and other high-energy products – and bottled water.2 Revisit your kit every six months so you can throw away any expired food items and replenish as needed. You should also be sure to keep a blanket in your trunk in case you get stranded at night or in cold weather.

Auto supplies

Now that you have the basic supplies covered, it’s time to think about your car. Keep a spare tire and jack (if your vehicle doesn’t have them), jumper cables, road flares, an ice scraper, a portable cellphone charger, and sand or cat litter (to add traction for your tires if your vehicle gets stuck in mud or snow).3

Important numbers

In case of emergency, knowing who to call can help you get the assistance you need as quickly as possible. Internet access isn’t available everywhere, especially on less-traveled stretches of highway, so keep the phone numbers for your auto insurance provider, a local towing company and your personal emergency contacts in your car.4


Finally, it may seem silly, but if you are stranded in your car and not physically hurt, you might be looking for a way to pass the time. So, consider packing a deck of cards or other form of entertainment to help stave off the cabin fever.1

Make sure you’re prepared for any car challenges you may face in the future. Download the car emergency kit list to make sure you have everything you need in your vehicle for when trouble strikes. 

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1 How to Pack an Emergency Kit,, 2022.
2 Food,, 2022.
3 Car Safety,, 2021.
4 What Should You Keep in the Car?, National Safety Council, 2022.

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