If you’re in a collision, if you run out of gas or find yourself trapped on a highway, it’s important to have an emergency kit in your vehicle.
Disaster can strike in any season. Be it a winter storm, a springtime flood, summer hail or a fall tornado, if you’re in your car, it’s best to be prepared. Just like having a home emergency kit, having emergency essentials in your vehicle can keep you comfortable and potentially even save a life.
Consider printing the following checklist and reviewing it at the start of each season. Use it to ensure you and your vehicle are prepared for a worst-case scenario situation.
Emergency Kit for Vehicles
- First aid kit that includes a seatbelt cutter which may be available at your local hardware or department store
- Tow rope, jumper cables and fire extinguisher
- Portable shovel, scraper, snowbrush, antifreeze and windshield washer fluid
- Salt, sand or non-clumping cat litter
- Non-perishable food (e.g., non-perishable energy or granola bars)
- Water (if in bottles, ensure they won’t break if frozen; replace every 6 months)
- A warm blanket, extra clothes and shoes or boots
- Cash, including small bills and change for pay phones
- A wind-up or regular radio (and batteries)
- A warning light and matches, a flashlight and batteries
- Road flares and a whistle (in case you need to attract attention)
- Road maps
- Copies of your emergency plan, personal documents (health card, insurance policy, etc.) and essential prescriptions
Roadside assistance is offered by private companies, private auto insurers and government-run auto insurers and can be a lifesaver when you are stuck on a lonely highway. If you have a 24/7/365 roadside assistance service, be sure to keep your cellphone charged or your in-car technology current to ensure you’ll be able to contact your supplier if and when an emergency situation happens.