What to Include in an Auto Emergency Kit

Winter storms have been dropping tons of snow quickly across the northern United States this last week. Cities in Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania received blankets of snow in short amount of time.

With inclement weather being a real danger at this time of year, we want you to be prepared in case of an emergency at home or while you’re on the road. Car kits can be very helpful in case you get stuck in bad weather or are stuck away from your home for a time.

Here are a few things that you should use when creating an emergency kit for your car:

The first thing that you’ll want to take care of is your basic needs - water, food and warmth.

Water. Water is going to be important in the winter and in the summer heat. It’s important that you pack enough water for each family member. Obviously, you’re not going to be packing a 50 gallon water tank in the back of your car. You’ll want to pack your water supply in pouches or small water bottles. We recommend a narrow water container that can take up limited room in your car.

Food. You probably can’t pack enough food in your car to live off of for a long time. You’ll want to pack foods that are small and compact. Consider purchasing some MRE meals if you live in cooler parts of the United States. Temperatures above 100 F (38 C) can shorten the shelf life of your MRE. If you live in a hotter part of the United States, consider purchasing Calorie Food Bars.

Warmth. If your car breaks down, you won’t be able to use the car’s system for warmth. You can use an emergency blanket - they usually fold up to a pocket-size pouch. It’s also smart to include a few ponchos in case you need to walk in the rain or snow.

Lights. Include flashlights and flares in the kit. There are a number of cool flashlights and emergency lights that you can put in the kit. There are some that prop-up and can sit on top of your car to indicate an emergency. Consumer Report recommends that you “choose one that is bright and weatherproof. In addition, a flashlight with a magnet, flexible mounting system, or a stand will free up your hands for other tasks. Also, have extra batteries and a bulb available.” (Read the Consumer Report article.)

Flares can be used to signal a passing car that you need help or to indicate your location. Don’t ever use them as lights inside your car.

First Aid Kit. A first aid kit is always a good idea and you’ll never regret having one inside your car.

Tools. Be sure to include some basic tools that you can tighten or loosen items on your car. It’s also important to include tow ropes, jumper cables, a shovel and some sand in case you get stuck. Also consider including a pocket knife and a compass.

Gloves. This always comes in handy. Imagine if you’re headed to a fancy event and you have to get under the hood on your way there. Gloves are a great way to keep yourself clean or to be able to grab onto hot things if you need.

Radio and Batteries. Be prepared with backup batteries in case you find your batteries have run out. If you have the means, a radio is a great purchase. There are a few two-way radios that would really come in handy - including radios that have solar panel inlets and phone charging outlets.

One thought on “What to Include in an Auto Emergency Kit”

  • pam leach

    Living in the frozen tundra called Maine...anything we leave in our car will freeze...solid!! How can we store liquids...and won't MRE's freeze up too? Any suggestions for such conditions would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks!

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