Whether it's a daily commute or an adventurous road trip, many people spend a lot of time in their vehicles. If you ever find yourself stranded on the side of the road due to a weather event or malfunction of your car, it's important to have survival items on hand. Read on to discover some things you'll want to keep in your vehicle as part of an emergency kit.

Items for a Breakdown

Peak Design in a car trunk (Volkswagen Touran) by Andraz Lazic is licensed with Unsplash

Even new cars can experience problems that prevent them from running correctly. Whether you drive a brand-new model or a vehicle that's been on the road for years, make sure to keep a few items on hand that can help you in the event of a breakdown.

Reflective Triangles

If you have car trouble, getting off the road as much as possible is crucial to avoid getting hit by passing vehicles. You can also use reflective triangles or road flares to warn other drivers of your car's positioning and encourage them to slow down when passing. Make sure you have a couple of reflective triangles or flares in your vehicle and matches to light the flares.

Tarp and Tools

When your car experiences a problem, you might need to get on the ground to assess the damage or perform a minor repair. However, kneeling on a wet or muddy road isn't appealing, so keep a waterproof tarp on hand to place beneath the car and avoid contact with the surface.

You may also need a multi-tool device to replace a flat tire or reattach a loose screw, so keep one in your glove box or trunk. Instead of a trunk filled with various tools, a multi-tool device contains screwdrivers, knives, scissors, wire snips, pliers, tweezers, and bottle openers — just to name a few — with just a flick of a finger.

A bag of zip ties may also come in handy if something comes loose and you need to secure it temporarily until you can get the car to a repair shop. Keep plastic zip ties and a roll of duct tape in your emergency kit.

Jumper Cables

A dead battery renders your vehicle useless until you can get a jump. Still, it's easier to enlist the help of a passing driver if you have the equipment needed to get the job done. Keep a set of jumper cables in your vehicle for your protection and help others who may need a battery jump.

Items for an Emergency

If you get in a car accident or experience an emergency threatening your health, you may need first-aid or food and water. Ensure you always have these items in your vehicle for an urgent situation.

First-Aid Kit

A first-aid kit is a must-have for all vehicles, but what you keep in your kit depends on how much space you have. At the very least, your kit should include adhesive and fabric bandages, medical tape, scissors, and antibiotic ointment. If you have room for a larger first-aid kit, consider adding alcohol-based cleansing wipes, antiseptic, gauze, and tweezers.

Snacks and Water

Depending on the situation, you could end up waiting for hours on the side of the road with an inoperable car. Keep a supply of non-perishable snacks and water bottles on hand to avoid going hungry while you wait. Nuts, crackers, beef jerky, and trail mix have a long shelf life and can often last for months in an emergency kit. If you frequently travel with children, keep a few snacks they enjoy in the equipment.

Perhaps you are someone that brings their pet in the car, whether on road trips or just running errands around town. If so, remember to stock your emergency kit with survival items for your furry friend, such as a bag of pet food and a collapsible water bowl.

Escape Tool

An escape tool is designed to help a driver or passenger get out of a vehicle in an urgent situation. This tool can save your life if the car falls into a body of water or a crash impacts the seatbelt's ability to release. It contains a blade that can cut through a seatbelt and a metal component that can break a window from the inside. Since you will need this within reach within the cabin, be sure it's stored in your glove box or console rather than your trunk.

Phone Charger

If you have to wait a while for help, your cell phone battery may die, putting you at risk. An open line of communication is essential when you're stranded, so keep a phone charger in your emergency kit that connects to one of your car's charging ports. Consider a portable external charger that you can use if your battery dies or your car won't start.

Items for Cold Weather

As the seasons change, you might get stuck in adverse weather that risks your safety. Keep a few items on hand that help you stay warm and protected.

Warm Clothing

Getting stuck in the snow can happen anytime, especially if you regularly drive in snowy conditions. A blizzard can strike unexpectedly, forcing drivers off the road until the weather clears. Ensure you have items that keep you and your passengers warm, such as sweatshirts, beanie-style hats, and thick socks. In addition, keeping a few blankets in your trunk is wise to provide an extra layer of protection if you need to get out of the vehicle in cold weather.

Scraper and Brush

Visibility is essential in all driving situations, but seeing the road ahead becomes more severe when it's snowing. A combination scraper and brush tool can protect you in snowy conditions, particularly after you've been parked for a while. To operate your vehicle safely, you must scrape your windows to remove any built-up ice before you drive.

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