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20 Items to Include in Your Car’s Roadside Emergency Kit

    4 minute read

    Roadside assistance is a valuable coverage to have in the event of an emergency. The added sense of security of knowing you’re just a phone call away from mechanical help can be highly reassuring if stranded on the side of the road. But what if your phone battery is dead or you’re traveling through a remote location? Would you have other ways to signal for help or jumpstart a battery? That’s where a car roadside emergency kit comes into play.

    Having a roadside emergency kit with you at all times is a safety precaution you hope never to use but will prove invaluable should the need arise. No matter how often you drive, carrying a kit with you will give you a sense of comfort as you wait for help to arrive. Not sure what to include in your car emergency kit? Here are just a few basic items that should be a part of any roadside emergency kit.

    What to Include in Your Car’s Roadside Emergency Kit

    To beat the heat…

    Protecting yourself from the elements is crucial in an emergency. Any emergency kit should include items tailored for various situations, including being stuck in the sun.

    1. Bottled water with electrolyte packages: Water is worth its weight in gold when in an emergency. Begin prepping your kit by ensuring you have a couple of water bottles to keep you hydrated. As a bonus, you can also include packets of electrolytes for added hydration. We recommend having a gallon of water.

    a car stuck on the side of the road in the dessert

    2. Sunscreen: If you must wait on the side of the road, you don’t want to slowly bake yourself in the hot sun. Carry a bottle of sunscreen to keep you from getting sunburned.

    3. Extra coolant: Carrying a few car basics, such as extra fluids and simple tools, can be handy when you need a quick tune-up. Plus, the hot weather can be taxing on older vehicles, so having extra coolant can be helpful when temps get too high.

    4. A large tarp or poncho: A large tarp that you can use for shade is a practical item when stuck in an area with little to no shade. Tarps can also be used as a makeshift shelter, something to lay on, or an emergency blanket in a pinch.

    To keep yourself warm…

    Just like you must protect yourself from the heat, it’s important to have items that will keep you warm. To keep things organized, consider swapping out seasonal gear throughout the year.

    1. Emergency blanket: Mylar blankets can keep you warm in windy or wet scenarios. Because they are waterproof and windproof, these types of blankets can be used in multiple weather conditions while still providing warmth.

    a broken down car in the winter

    2. Matches or a lighter: If you need to start an emergency fire, having matches or a lighter on hand will make things much easier.

    3. Hand and foot warmers: Due to their size, hand warmers can easily be included in a car roadside emergency kit without taking up too much space. Plus, hand warmers last for multiple hours, so you don’t need to pack a whole lot.

    4. Ice shovel: You never know where you may find yourself stranded or in what conditions. Having a small shovel on hand will be helpful if you need to dig snow or dirt out of your way.

    5. Extra change of clothes: Okay, so you may not be able to pack your whole closet in your roadside emergency kit. However, you can try to fit some extra clothes you can use for extra warmth, such as pants and a long-sleeve shirt.

    For when you need a mechanic…

    We aren’t saying you must pack items required to remove an engine, but having a few basic tools on hand is always beneficial.

    1. Tire jack and wheel wrench: Most vehicles will come with a tire jack, but these can often be a bit flimsy. Consider investing in a more robust jack and keep it with you to always be able to change a tire.  

    2. Spare tire: The last thing you want is to need a spare only to find out that yours is either missing or flat. Yes, tires can expire, so make sure to replace your car’s spare every 5-7 years.

    3. Jumper cables: A good set of jumper cables is handy when all you need is a quick jump.

    4. Basic tool kit: Again, you don’t need to carry a whole mechanic shop with you, but you should have some basics. This includes a screwdriver, hammer, wrenches, multi-purpose tools, pliers, duct tape, and a knife.

    General items to include… 

    A few items should always be included in a car’s roadside emergency kit, regardless of the weather. These items will help keep you comfortable and safe while waiting for assistance.

    1. Road flares and hazard triangles: If your car is stuck on the road, it’s important to let other motorists know. Having road flares and hazard triangles will alert other drivers of your presence, which will help avoid any further accidents.

    a roadside emergency kit

    2. Safety whistle: You never know when you’ll need to alert someone from far away or scare off wildlife quickly, so we recommend carrying a safety whistle in your roadside kit.

    3. Flashlight with extra batteries: Not being able to see clearly can make an emergency much more difficult. Always keep a small but powerful flashlight in your car to avoid being left without light.

    4. First aid kit: If you’re injured while waiting for assistance, having a first aid kit will help you patch yourself up before additional help arrives.

    5. Nonperishable food: You may have little appetite when stranded on the road. However, we recommend you include nonperishable snacks within your kit to keep your stomach full in an emergency.

    6. A pair of work gloves: If you’re caught in the rain or snow, having a pair of work gloves will make handling items much easier and help keep your hands warm.

    7. Extra charger: It’s easy to find portable chargers that can work with multiple devices. Having one on hand will be beneficial in a survival situation when every bit of battery helps. Just keep in mind to check on it occasionally to ensure it is still fully charged.

    Get the Coverage You Need

    Do you travel frequently and want to cover all your bases? Consider purchasing roadside assistance. Whether you know how to change a tire or not, having roadside assistance as a part of your auto policy can provide a helpful hand in a tight situation. To learn more about how AIS can help get you covered, give us a call at (888) 772-4247.

    The information in this article is obtained from various sources and is offered for educational purposes. Furthermore, it should not replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. No warranty or appropriateness for a specific purpose is expressed or implied.