Top 10 Things You Need in Your Car Emergency Kit

Posted on by Defensive Driving | in Defensive Driving Tips, Driver Safety For You & Your Family, Helping You Drive Safely

You don’t wait until a disaster to get prepared do you? Of course not. So why wait for an emergency to get the most complete car emergency kit you can get?

First aid kits celebrate their 130th birthday this year. Johnson and Johnson began commercializing the first aid kit in 1888. Since then there have been variants of the first aid kit for specific fields and situations. You have disaster kits and enter our topic: the car emergency kit.

Car Emergency KitMemberships and subscriptions to assistance programs can help in case of an emergency. However, in addition to those services you should carry your car emergency kit. It could mean the difference between loss of life and limb and surviving.

Cars break down for all sorts of reasons at the most inopportune time. We’ve all heard the stories of someone buying a brand new vehicle that has to be pulled over on the side of the road because of a technical snafu. In other cases, old faithful halts in the middle of nowhere and in extreme cases malfunctions cause horrendous crashes.

No matter when incidents occur, we all need to be prepared. Car emergency kits give you the ability to survive until the help or the paramedics arrive.

Here are the ultimate must have items for your car emergency kit and why you need them:

First-aid Kit

Every driver should have a first aid kit with everything from an assortment of band-aid sizes, eyewash, antiseptic spray, burn spray, antibiotic ointment, first aid handbook, tweezers, pain relief tablets, sterile gauze, adhesive tape, ammonia wipes, alcohol pads, wire scissors, gloves, ice pack, multipurpose splint, blood stopper compress and more. These items are very important to have in the event of serious injury. Collectively, they make up a life saving kit.

Fire Extinguisher

Cars are mechanical marvels. The key word here being mechanical. As a result they are susceptible to catching on fire in the event of a violent collision. Fire extinguishers need to be rated for Class B and Class C fires by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

Jumper Cables

Cars experiencing electrical issues could be remedied with a simple jump. Jumper cables should be at least 10 feet long. Jumper cables should offer you protection from any electrical surge and be insulated enough for normal wear and tear. Opt for jumper cables that fit top and side post batteries with fully shielded clamps. If possible get a set that come with safety gloves and heavy duty professional clamps.

Tow Rope or Strap

Even if everyone could have four wheel drive vehicles, there could still be that one situation where your vehicle is simply stuck. Professional grade, heavy duty tow ropes/straps can be your best friend. if you opt for straps go with one rated at a 10,000 lb break strength capacity, rated for a vehicle weight greater than 5,000 lbs, with 4.5 ton forged safety hooks that are 30 ft long or longer.

Reflective Triangles

Reflective triangles help communicate that there is an emergency up ahead. Why is this important? Other drivers might exercise caution when approaching your location allowing you to move with ease to remedy your automotive issue. This tiny equilateral triangle should be placed 200m before the accident/incident, on the side of the road where other drivers can easily see it. Some vehicles may come with emergency triangles but for others you will have to purchase a set in a strong case for storage.

Portable Car Charger

Being stranded is no fun. What’s worse is being stranded with no way to get assistance. You never know the kind of day that could precede automotive issues leaving you stranded in the most remote places. For that reason alone, you should always have a portable phone charger. Look for a unit that has at least 20,000 milliamp hours (mAh) capable of charging everything from your laptop to your cellphone several times over before needing a recharge. Some come with quick charge capabilities and other features but the milliamp hours are by far the most important. Second look for devices with multiple USB ports for simultaneous charging of more than one device.

Multipurpose Utility Tool

In the event of an emergency it almost always comes down to the simplest task. If only you had the right tool? A multipurpose tool assures that you never have that dilemma. On the high end of the spectrum you have multipurpose tools like the Leatherman Wave at a cost of approximately $90 and on the lower end you have the Victorinox Classic Swiss Army Pocket Knife at $15. All multipurpose tools are made for with one purpose; to help you survive. Get one for your car emergency kit today.

Duct Tape

No matter what’s broken duct tape is the temporary fixer-upper you need to have on hand. Some come in cloth, scrim-backed or coated in polyethylene in different colors. There is also a heat resistant option that can patch your piping hot car innards. If it was good enough for soldiers during World War II, trying to seal their ammunition cases, what won’t it fix?


A blanket doesn’t make sense to you until you need to use one. Need to get under your pick up to check for leaks after your car stalls on the side of the road? A blanket can easily be a barrier between you and the elements under your truck. In the winter if you’re stranded for an abnormally long period you can wrap up in your warm blanket until help arrives. In some cases a passenger or the driver may be in shock following a collision and your blanket comes in handy here as well. The weight and warmth of the blanket can help provide a sense of comfort to anyone under psychological, emotional or physical duress.


A good lantern is a priceless resource in the dark. Your emergency could occur in the middle of a midnight run to the store for ice cream, for your pregnant wife. You simply never know. A lantern provides 360 degrees of illumination. When shopping for a good lantern be weary of those with rechargeable battery packs unless you plan on purchasing several battery units. If you opt for a flashlight instead look for crank emergency flashlights. They provide bright light at a spin of the crank for hours on end rather than relying on rechargeable and replaceable solutions. A headlamp gives you the directional light you need to problem solve any issue without the compromise of being one-handed.

Are there other items you would put on this list? Let us know in the comments.


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