What’s the one item every vehicle should have?

A roadside emergency kit – filled with essentials to keep you safe

Closeup of a Car Emergency Kit

“Be prepared.” Such is the sage advice of this Boy Scouts motto. And when it comes to driving in a car every day, you never know when or where you may experience trouble. Hopefully, you won’t, but it is important to be equipped with items that can help you in a tough situation.

Most vehicles come with a basic car jack and spare tire, so know where they are located and how to use them. Also, make sure your spare tire has air. A car care kit can help you manage through unforeseeable roadside emergencies. Here’s what to include in your kit, according to the National Safety Council (NSC):

First aid kit
Band-aids, antibiotic ointment, gauze, rubbing alcohols – have these basic items on hand for minor first-aid issues.

Fire extinguisher
According to the National Fire Protection Association, 20 percent of all reported fires occur in a motor vehicle.

Road flares
Road flares will warn other drivers and create a buffer between oncoming traffic.

Jumper cables
When your car doesn’t start, you’re going to want jumper cables. An alternative to jumper cables is a jump box, just in case no one is around to help start your car.

When you need to get back on the road without replacing your tire with the spare, fix-a-flat will get you to the service station.

Flashlight and extra batteries
You may need to find your way in the dark or change a tire at nighttime. Don’t rely on the flashlight on your cell phone so you don’t drain the battery.

Drinking water
Keeping hydrated is important.

Car Tools
Basic tools needed for your vehicle.

Basic tool kit with multi-purpose tool
Screwdrivers, pliers, socket set, and electrical tape may come in handy, along with an all-in-one-tool to allow you to perform various tasks.

Other items that are beneficial at any time include:

Cell phone car charger
You’ll want your phone charged and ready so you can make calls during an emergency. Be sure to record important phone numbers on your phone, such as your insurance provider, towing company, etc.

Clean, empty refillable gas jug
Just in case you need to get gas, you’ll need something to put it in – obviously!

In case you have to change a tire in the rain.

Car Emergency Kit
Some of the basic items for a Car Emergency Kit.

Emergency weather radio
Tune in to check on the weather and storms headed your way.

Fun stuff – deck of cards, book or other entertainment. You’ll want to keep the kids busy while you’re waiting for roadside help.


These items are a starting point. It depends on where you live, along with the weather and seasons on what else to include in your car care kit.

Where to store it – box it up

Find a box or even an old backpack to keep your items together and organized, and make sure it’s easily accessible. The best place to keep your kit is in your trunk. Also, be sure to familiarize yourself with what’s in the kit and know how to use the items. The NSC recommends checking your kit every six months.

Car tool kit
Basic tool kit needed for your vehicle.
Make safety a priority

From dead batteries to flat tires, car trouble is unpredictable. Be sure you maintain a sense of comfort and security as you hit the road with an emergency car care kit.

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