What Should be in my Vehicle’s Emergency Kit?

The roads can be unpredictable, especially in rough weather. Don’t wait until you run out of gas, have an accident, or get stuck in the snow or mud to start thinking about a vehicle emergency kit. Get prepared today by gathering the following items. Future you will be glad you did!

Icy offroad vehicle standing on snowy forest road, rear view, emergency kit


The Emergency Kit Necessities

Not everyone has a ton of space in their vehicle. Below are some items that really need to make their way into the trunk or backseat:emergency kit checklist

  • First Aid Kit
    • Band-Aids (various sizes)
    • Antibacterial ointment
    • Gauze pads (various sizes)
    • Pain-relief medication (Ibuprofen for example)
    • Check the Red Cross first aid recommendations for more…
  • Jumper Cables/Battery Charger
  • Multipurpose Tool
  • Flashlight
  • Spare Cell Phone Charger
  • Ice Scraper (If you live in an area with a risk of snow/ice)

Optional Items

A couple are stranded at side of highway with a car breakdown in winter.

If you can spare some more space in your vehicle, there are more items that can really help in certain emergency situations. These suggestions come from DMV.ORG and Ready.gov if you would like to see their full lists.

  • Clear Tote – This keeps your items all in one place and you can quickly see if some items need to be replaced or refilled.
  • Empty Gas Container – Never drive around with a container filled with gas, but you will be happy to have this container if you should ever run out of gas.
  • Tow Straps or Tow Rope – It should be strong enough to tow 6,000lbs.
  • Rain Ponchos – Simple ponchos are perfect. If you have children, have some kids ponchos too.
  • Spare Cash – If power is down, you will not be able to use your bank card to get cash when you need it. Always have a bit of money in a plastic baggie for gas and necessities.
  • Road Flares – These can be used for light, to flag down help, and for starting a fire if you need.
  • Nonperishable Food – Protein bars, dried fruit, and mixed nuts work great!
  • Rags – These are very useful when wiping down messes while fixing up your vehicle.
  • Gloves – Work gloves or winter gloves depending on the climate in your area.
  • All-Weather Blanket – Be prepared for any temperature. Carry multiple in case you have other passengers.
  • Cat Litter – Use cat litter for extra traction when you’re stuck in snow or mud.
  • Pet Supplies – If your dog or cat travels with you everywhere, you should also be prepared for them to be stuck with you. Keep a bit of pet food, a reflective leash, and a bowl for water.

Vehicle Safety Tipsoil and fluids in vehicle emergency prepare kit

You can’t always be prepared for every situation. However, there are some steps you can take to be more prepared. Follow the checklist below to make sure your vehicle is ready for a long trip:

  1. Fill Your Gas Tank: A full gas tank won’t leave you stranded, and it will also keep your fuel from freezing.
  2. Check Tire Pressure: You vehicle’s manual should state what your tire pressure should be. The number is usually between 30 and 35 PSI. Use a pressure gauge before each trip.
  3. Check Your Fluids: Antifreeze levels, oil, windshield wiper fluid, brake fluid, and power steering.
  4. Check Your Lights: Headlights, brake lights, turn signals, and license plate light.
  5. Spare Tire: Make sure you have a spare tire and it is inflated. Don’t forget the jack!
  6. Check Under the Vehicle: This is to make sure your fluids aren’t leaking. If you notice any fluids where you were last parked, get your vehicle serviced.
  7. Replace Items in Emergency Kit: If you’ve used up any items in your emergency kit, make sure to replace them before leaving.

Drive Safe!

I hope you will never have to use your vehicle’s emergency kit, but if you do, these tips will surely help.

What are some items you have in your emergency kit? Let me know in the comment section below!