10 Items You Should Keep in Your Car at all Times (Emergency Preparation)

The road can be a dangerous place no matter where or when you are driving. Even if you take every precaution to be a safe and attentive driver, you can’t always account for the other people on the road or even your vehicle’s reliability. 

Things can and likely will go wrong while driving at some point in your life. If they do, it’s essential to keep the right items in your vehicle to ensure you’re covered for whatever incident may occur. 

Though you likely have information such as a list of roadside assistance companies on hand in case of an emergency, you still should be prepared for the moments in between the actual incident and their arrival.

#1 – Jumper Cables

Jumper cables are one of the essential items to keep in your vehicle. A dead battery is one of the most common occurrences among drivers. 

Even though a dead battery is typically an easy fix, your options are minimal without jumper cables. 

Since it’s clearly out of your control when and where your car battery decides to die, being stranded somewhere without jumper cables leaves you at the mercy of others. You will either have to hope you encounter someone who has jumper cables on hand or call someone you know to bring them to you. 

Having them readily available leaves you with much better odds since you will only have to hope for someone to be willing to give you a little juice from their vehicle.

#2 – Flashlight

You may find yourself stranded in the late evening or even nighttime hours, which means the sunlight is dwindling or disappearing altogether. 

It’s difficult to do much when you’re unable to see and leaving your car lights on might leave you with a drained battery. 

Having a flashlight on hand can save you many headaches if something goes wrong during the night. Most flashlights will last anywhere from 2 to 50 hours, depending on their brightness, giving you plenty of light until your problem is solved or help arrives. 

car first aid kit

#3 – First-Aid Kit

You never know what you might encounter on the road. Even a minor car accident can cause injuries, or you may even find someone or something needing medical help while you are out. 

Having a first-aid kit ready and available can save you in many unexpected situations. These kits can come prepackaged, or you can build one yourself. 

The best items to keep in your first-aid kit are: 



       Hand sanitizer

       Pain medication


       Surgical tape


       Antibacterial cleaning solution 

These items will come in handy if you, someone with you, or even someone you encounter suffers an unexpected injury. If the damage is minor, they will likely be enough to hold over until professional help arrives. 

#4 – Flares

You don’t get to control where your vehicle breaks down. This means nothing is stopping it from happening at night on a busy road, intersection, or even the highway. 

Having flares readily available can make the difference between being safe and being hit. Unfortunately, distracted driving is at an all-time high. Having flares that are bright and flashing means people are much more likely to see you and move over to give you space.

#5 – Warm Clothing

Temperatures can vary in large amounts from day to night time. And some people live in climates where winters are bitterly cold, even during the day. 

If your car breaks down when the temperature is much colder than you are dressed for, having warm clothes can be a lifesaver.

Being able to bundle and layer on clothing to keep yourself warm stops you from having to waste all the gas in your car running the heat. And it saves you from a situation where perhaps your vehicle won’t start at all. 

Items such as an extra coat, a warm blanket, and thick socks can make a massive difference if you become stranded in freezing temperatures.

#6 – Glass Breaker

Having a glass breaker in your vehicle at all times can make the difference between life and death, not only for you but for others as well. 

If you were to ever find yourself in the unfortunate situation of your vehicle being submerged in a body of water, a glass breaker could save your life. 

Many come with the option of a built-in seatbelt cutter as well, making them even more functional. 

These handy tools will also help if you ever need to remove someone such as your child, a pet, or even a stranger you are assisting from a vehicle as well. The tools work from the outside of a window just as well as from the inside.

#7 – Spare Tire, Jack, and Iron

A flat tire can happen no matter how excellent the tires on your vehicle may be. All it takes is one sharp object, and you can find yourself on the side of the road with a tire utterly void of air. 

Having a spare tire on hand can help you get back on the road sooner. If you know how to change a tire yourself, you can save much hassle waiting for roadside assistance. 

purple water bottle

#8 – Water Bottles

You never know exactly how long you may be stranded, so having something such as water available can be a big help if you find yourself stuck in your vehicle. 

If the day is sweltering, you could get thirsty quickly. Having water on hand allows you to keep yourself hydrated while you wait for assistance. 

Reusable water bottles are also a great eco-friendly alternative to traditional plastic bottles. Simply keep a reusable bottle filled with water in your vehicle at all times to ensure you’re safe.

#9 – Non-perishable Snacks

Keeping yourself nourished is almost as important as keeping yourself hydrated. Being stranded for hours with no food can make you low on energy, especially if your car is in a situation that potentially requires pushing or strength. 

Having extra food on hand that won’t expire quickly can help provide the extra energy you need until assistance arrives. 

#10 – Battery Charger

Cellphones may have some negatives to them, but they are convenient to have in an emergency. With them, you can call anyone anytime, so long as you have service and charge. 

If your phone is low on battery or being used for extended periods, draining its battery, a portable battery charger can be a huge help. These devices are pre-charged and allow you to use them just as you would a wall or car charger.

Even if your car is dead, you can still use the portable battery charger to keep your phone charged for calling for help or waiting for a call.

Stocking Your Car in Case of Emergencies

Vehicles do incredible things for us every day. But when driving, there are many potential hazards and dangerous situations that could happen. 

Keeping your car stocked with these items or even a specific car emergency kit can help alleviate some of the risks that could occur if you should find yourself stranded, stuck, or broken down. 

Alexandra Arcand
Alexandra Arcand writes and researches for the auto insurance comparison site, 4AutoInsuranceQuote.com. She specializes in travel articles and safety tips for driving and road trips.