Whether you are planning a trip across the country or a drive across town, it’s always a good idea to have a well-stocked emergency kit in your car. Emergencies can happen anytime and anywhere. Having access to essentials can mean the difference between a little hiccup in your trip or a complete disaster. While everybody’s needs are different, most experts agree that these items should be included in your emergency road trip kit and kept in your car AT ALL TIMES.
Always keep at least two to three 16 oz. bottles of water in your car at all times. A gallon is better, but takes up a lot of room. Not only will water keep you hydrated if you get stranded, but it can also provide a temporary fix to an overheated engine.
A large flashlight with extra batteries is a must for night-time emergencies. Fixing a flat or changing a tire at night would be impossible without a good flashlight.
At a minimum you need jumper cables, but it’s even better if you can buy a jumper box that produces its own charge. If you have one of these you won’t have to ask strangers for help, or risk being stranded if there is no one around to help you.
Unfortunately, car fires can happen. If you are prepared with an automotive fire extinguisher, you can act fast and contain a car fire before anybody gets hurt.
First Aid Kit
The size of this kit is really up to you. Some people like to have a mini hospital in their trunk while others prefer a more minimalistic approach. Most people agree that the basics you need are:
- vinyl gloves
- antibiotic cleansing wipes
- antibiotic cream
- medication such as Tylenol, Benadryl, & Advil
- instant cold packs
- hand sanitizer
- ace bandage
- medical tape
- gauze pads
If you are stranded on the side of the road, it’s a good idea to lay flares out to warn oncoming traffic. Flares can also be used to signal for help if you are stranded somewhere.
Murphy’s Law always prevails and you may have to perform emergency repairs in the rain. Keeping an inexpensive rain poncho in the car will make the process a little more comfortable.
It’s always a good idea to have some emergency cash in your car at all times. Not every place takes credit/debit cards and you may find yourself out of luck if you don’t have some cash on you.
Keeping a stash of non-perishable snacks like protein bars or nuts is always a good idea. You never know how long you might be stranded in an emergency.
My biggest fear is being trapped in a car. Especially with my kids. One year my husband bought me the best Christmas present ever -a car hammer. It has the ability to not only break glass with a small tap, but it also has a seatbelt cutter. This could literally save your life.
Disposable Cell Phone Charger
If your car battery dies, you won’t be able to use your standard car charger. Keep at least one disposable emergency charger, like Cellboost, in your car at all times.
Spare Tire & Jack
No brainer, right? You would be surprised at how many people don’t have a spare tire or their spare isn’t properly inflated. Make sure to check your spare before each road trip to ensure that it can do the job if you happen to get a flat.
Fix-a-Flat is designed to fix small punctures in your tire and inflate the tire enough to get you to a safe place to replace or repair a tire. It is a lifesaver on road trips.
Photo by: Flickr/D Borz
In the Winter
If your car isn’t working, your heater won’t be working. Having a blanket or two can help keep you and your family warm until help arrives.
If you have to change a tire in the winter, you will be grateful for a pair of heavy-duty gloves. Frostbite is no joke.
Keep some kitty litter in your car to provide traction if you get stuck on snow or ice.
With these items, you can make sure that a small road trip emergency doesn’t derail your entire trip. Happy traveling!
Take a look at Trekaroo’s Gear Guide for Road Trips while Planning an Extended Road Trip for Kids.
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Featured photo by: Shutterstock