- If you want to be prepared to deal with an emergency situation, consider keeping some basic essentials in your vehicle.
- In a pinch, a basic tool kit and a flashlight can help you to make minor, makeshift repairs on your car.
Waterproof tarps and jackets can come in handy if you have to make small, last-minute car repairs in rainy weather.
In most cases, being prepared can make any dangerous situation at least a little bit better and safer. So you may want to keep items in your car that could help you make makeshift vehicle repairs, provide simple medical care, or sustain you in case you become stranded.
Here are some items you should always keep in your car.
You never know when you might need a first-aid kit
Ellen Edmonds, a representative from the American Automobile Association (AAA), told INSIDER that AAA recommends keeping a fully stocked first-aid kit in your vehicle.
A typical first-aid kitincludes items like gauze pads, bandages, ibuprofen, instant cold packs, tweezers, and medical tape.
It can be useful to keep a mobile phone and a charger in your vehicle
Although you should never use your phone while driving, Edmonds said AAA recommends keeping a cell phone and a charger in your car in case you get lost or find yourself in an emergency situation. Most smartphones can be used as a compass or a GPS and, of course, they can be used to contact someone for help.
A basic toolkit may come in handy if you ever need to make some makeshift vehicle repairs
You never know what types of small, makeshift repairs you might need to make on the road, so Edmonds said AAA suggests stocking your car with a kit that includes an assortment of screwdrivers, an adjustable wrench, and pliers.
She said AAA also suggests you keep duct tape and plastic zip ties in your vehicle. Although they do not offer a permanent solution, plastic zip ties and duct tape can be used to make certain car repairs that may last until you’re able to bring your vehicle to a safe place where it can be properly fixed.
If you are in an accident or your car breaks down, warning devices can help keep you safe while you wait for assistance to arrive
Whether you are in a wreck or your car breaks down in the middle of a busy road, Edmonds said AAA advises drivers keep items like flares or reflective triangles in their vehicle. These warning devices can signal to other drivers that they should steer clear of your vehicle, which can help to prevent an accident or other dangerous situation.
If you decide to keep a flare in your car, be sure to avoid storing it in your car’s glove compartment or any part of your vehicle that gets very warm, as it can melt if exposed to a lot of heat, according to the National Automotive Parts Association. You may also want to educate yourself on how to properly and safely light a road flare so you’re prepared should you ever need to use it.
Waterproof gear can come in handy if you have to make last-minute vehicle repairs in rainy weather
Edmonds told INSIDER that drivers may want to keep a tarp, raincoat, and gloves in their car so they can stay clean and dry during all weather conditions should they ever have to work on emergency roadside repairs for their vehicle.
Edmonds said AAA also advises that you keep flashlights, extra batteries, rags, paper towels, and pre-moistened wipes in your vehicle
Flashlights can be useful if you need to look under the hood of your vehicle or beneath your vehicle. They can also come in handy if you end up stranded roadside during the evening.
During day-to-day life, rags, paper towels, and wipes can be useful for cleaning up spilled food or beverages in your vehicle. They can also come in handy if you have to make any messy, last-minute repairs on your car, like tightening its fuel cap.
In an emergency, you may be glad to have a spare tire and jumper cables in your vehicle
State Farm Calabasas insurance agent Mike Martinek told INSIDER that it is important to keep a spare tire and jumper cables in a vehicle, as both can offer makeshift solutions to common automobile issues.
Jumper cables can be used to jump-start a car, which can temporarily a vehicle’s battery get a boost. Spare tires can come in handy if you need to replace a flat or blown-out tire for a short period of time.
Always keep some food and water in your vehicle
Edmonds said she suggests drivers keep enough food and water in their vehicle for all of the passengers and pets that are along for the ride. Should you become stranded on the side of the road for a long period of time, this stash can help keep everyone sustained until help can arrive.
If you have children in tow, you may want to keep a few toys or books in your car
Martinek said he suggests that you keep some books or toys in your vehicle’s emergency kit if you often have children in your car. In the event that your vehicle is stranded for a prolonged period of time, these items can keep children entertained and help make them feel more comfortable.
Those who drive in areas that experience low temperatures should keep a few cold-weather essentials in their car
Before driving in an area that may experience snow, Edmonds said you should add a few essentials to your car including an ice scraper, snow brush, and a shovel, which can help you to clear off a vehicle that’s been covered in snow.
She also said it can be a wise idea to keep warm gloves, hats, and blankets in your car as they may help keep you and your fellow passengers warm in the event that your vehicle gets stranded in a cold location.
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