Whether it’s a long standstill in the middle of the highway or your car breaking down on the side of the road, keeping an emergency car safety kit in the trunk of your vehicle allows you to stay safe when you’re most vulnerable on the road.
Depending on the season, you can replace some items on this list to free up some space in your car (for example, your winter car safety kit should have more cold-related items than one for the summer). For other items, they’re essentials necessary for every season.
If you haven’t made your kit yet or are looking for new items to throw in there, our list of the top 11 items for your emergency car safety kit is here to help.
Top 11 Items for Your Car Safety Kit
For this list, we broke down the items into categories: seasonal, car-related, expiring, and communication.
Seasonal Items for Your Emergency Car Safety Kit
These items you throw in your kit for the winter and keep out for the summer. Some people like to keep these products all year round, and that’s fine but not always necessary, depending on where you live.
Everyone needs good blankets, especially as part of your emergency car safety kit. When traveling in cold weather, the last thing you need is to be stranded in freezing temperatures without any blankets to help you and your family fight off hypothermia.
You can either take some blankets from off of your couch or, if you live in real dangerous weather, purchase emergency thermal blankets or a survival Bivvy sack. Emergency blankets are easily portable and retain up to 90% of your body heat.
2. Extra Clothes
Keeping an extra set of clothes with you at all times shouldn’t be seasonal, but the types of clothes on hand might be. For example, in the cold weather, have a pair of gloves, a winter hat, and a sweatshirt in your emergency car kit. In the summer, you should be able to get away with just a sweater and leave the gloves and hats in the house.
Some items should always be in your car emergency kit, though a couple of pairs of socks and underwear, pants, and a shirt.
Car-Related Items for Your Emergency Car Safety Kit
There are a few items you should always have in your car that will not only help in an emergency, but will also help minor inconveniences from turning into bigger problems.
3. Spare Tire
Don’t let yourself be stranded without a spare tire.
Most cars these days come with a spare tire and wrench in the trunk of your car, but if you’ve used yours recently or don’t have one, it’s time for a replacement. In those situations where you’re in a rural area without much cell phone service, knowing you’ve got a spare in case of a flat saves you a lot of stress.
Many spare tires are limited-use tire substitutes, or “donuts,” and perform poorly in inclement weather or for long stretches of driving.
Bonus Tip: Practice changing a spare tire before an emergency happens. You don’t want your first time to be in the middle of severe weather or on a busy highway.
4. Jumper Cables
Jumper cables will be handy on long road trips if your car battery decides to go out on you. While not applicable if you’re by yourself, a set of jumper cables can help you restart your car in a parking lot or on the side of the road.
5. Vehicle Safety Items
Every car should have the following items inside at all times: a small air compressor, tire gauge, and road flares.
Small air compressors are low-cost and help put air in your tires when you don’t think you’d make it to the gas station before a flat. You may not always find yourself in a situation where you can get to someplace to fill your tires, so having an option in your emergency car safety kit is beneficial. As for a tire gauge, keep one on hand always to check if you need to fill up (or if your tires are overfilled). Most cars now come with automatic tire pressure measurements, but it never hurts to have a backup.
Road flares and reflective triangles protect you when you’re on the side of the road in any kind of weather. At nighttime, during a snowstorm, or even just on a busy highway, being on the side of the road is a dangerous place. Protect yourself and make yourself visible to avoid any oncoming traffic hitting you.
While not a car-related item, a flashlight is essential to always have on hand. Most smartphones have flashlights built-in, but you don’t want to waste your battery life if you end up without a charger.
Plus, if you rely only on your phone’s flashlight, you’ll find yourself in the dark if you need to call for help.
*Note: Solar-powered lights do need sunlight to charge. Make sure solar-powered lights are able to absorb sunlight and aren’t stored in a dark area. Alternatively, battery powered flashlights and a set of fully-charged, backup batteries are a good option.
7. Reflective Safety Vests
If you must leave your vehicle in the middle of the night to seek help, a reflective vest will ensure that drivers can see you.
A reflective vest will make it less likely that you’ll be injured by a car and draw attention so drivers or pedestrians can lend you assistance.
According to the NHTSA, 75% of pedestrian fatalities happen in the dark, so it’s important to make sure that you stand out among a sea of cars to get the help you need and stay safe while doing so.
Expiring Items for Your Emergency Car Safety Kit
You should check on these items yearly as some of them may expire and cause even more damage if used or ingested.
8. First Aid Kit
You might not think of a first aid kit expiring, but depending on the contents, there is a time and a place where using it might be more dangerous than not.
A good first-aid kit should include bandaids, disinfectant wipes, aspirin, and more. If you’d rather not build your own, our Ride-Along 3-Day Survival Kit and Hi-Visibility/Hi-Safety 3-Day Auto Kit include everything you need, from bandages to flares to even water packets.
9. Nonperishable Foods and Drinking Water
If stranded, food and water can become the most critical item in your car safety kit.
Nonperishable items, such as canned or dried foods, will help you sustain yourself until you can find other food sources. Additionally, it’s important to stay hydrated, so make sure you have drinkable water on hand.
10. Baby and Pet Supplies
If you find yourself stranded with a little one in your backseat, you will need another kit of just their supplies. These include diapers, formula, blankets, toys, and anything else you may need to keep your baby comfortable.
When traveling with your pet, keep an extra water bowl and some food in the back to ensure they’re also hydrated and fed.
Communicating with the outside world can be the difference between life and death in a dangerous situation.
12. Phone Charger
The last thing you need while stranded on the road is for your phone to be dead.
Make sure you have a regular phone charger plugged into a wall and a car charger so your phone will be ready if you need to make an emergency call.
LifeSecure has Everything You Need for Your Emergency Car Safety Kit
LifeSecure delivers a variety of car safety kits ideally suited to your needs.
As a leader in emergency solutions, our kits of different sizes help you stay safe while traveling. Don’t get stuck on the road without protecting yourself first.