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Whether you’re driving a few blocks away or across the country, it doesn’t take much for your plans to go wrong. If an emergency situation happens while you’re behind the wheel, you only have yourself and the items in your car to address the problem. Here are 25 emergency trunk essentials to keep in your car at all times.
The most important things you should keep in your car are safety and survival supplies. Getting stranded on the road may seem like an improbable scenario, but it happens more often than you think. The I-95 traffic jam that left hundreds of drivers stranded for over 24 hours is a recent notable example.
1. First Aid Kit
The first aid kit is the holy grail of your emergency trunk essentials. It should contain all of the basic supplies needed for treating cuts, bruises, burns and breaks. The most expensive kits also come with CPR masks, emergency blankets, tourniquet supplies and other items for more serious medical situations.
2. Food and Water
When planning for a long trip, put some water bottles, protein bars and other snacks in your car. If you get stranded for more than a few hours, you have the means to sustain yourself.
3. Warm Clothes
If you get stranded in freezing temperatures, hypothermia, frostbite and death are real possibilities. An extra layer of clothes can save your life. A blanket can also help people recover from shock caused by injuries.
4. Sleeping Bag
Along with the warm clothes, a sleeping bag will keep you warm if you get stranded overnight. It’s also nice to have if you unexpectedly need to sleep over at someone’s house.
5. Satellite Messenger
Here’s the worst-case scenario: your phone dies, you get lost and you run out of gas. A two-way satellite messenger is the only device that can bail you out. It will pin your location and enable you to connect with emergency services.
A flat tire, dead battery, engine failure and many other complications can cause your car to break down. As such, you need a wide range of maintenance supplies to tackle any issue that comes your way.
6. Owner’s Manual
There are only two good reasons you should remove the owner’s manual from the glove compartment: for studying and consulting. It’s your one-stop guide to everything about your vehicle, so keep it where it belongs.
7. Car Repair Information
Your car repair history should also sit next to the owner’s manual. Citing the repair history often proves helpful when diagnosing a roadside problem.
8. Cleaning Supplies
Having some basic cleaning supplies won’t save your life, but they will make most roadside repairs much easier. Remember to keep paper towels, cloth rags and a handful of reusable grocery bags handy.
9. Tire Changing Tools
A flat tire is an the most common roadside issue, so you have no excuse for being unprepared. Keep a spare tire, tire jack and lug wrench among your emergency trunk essentials at all times. You never know when or where you might need them.
10. Tire Pressure Gauge
A tire pressure gauge allows you to perform free routine tire pressure checks. They’re usually more accurate than gas station gauges, cost just a few dollars and will last a lifetime.
11. Reflective Triangles or Road Flares
Reflective triangles and road flares are important for roadside repair safety. They show your vehicle’s location and give other drivers time to switch lanes. They will also help you signal emergency services after an accident.
12. Jumper Cables
Another common car problem is a flat or drained battery. As such, jumper cables are crucial things you should keep in your car. You still need another car to complete the jump, but at least you have the necessary tool.
Whenever a stubborn nut or bolt gives you trouble, a spray of WD-40 will loosen it up. It removes dirt and grease like no other spray on the market.
14. Duct Tape
Duct tape is another awesome multipurpose tool you should keep in your car. It provides a temporary fix for leaks, cracks and breaks until you can get to a repair shop. It also might come in handy in first aid situations.
15. Ice Scraper
An ice scraper is a non-negotiable for colder climates. It will remove ice and snow from your car in just a few seconds, allowing you to get on with your day.
A multitool will help you administer first aid and complete roadside repairs. Also, it just looks cool. Keep it on your person or stow it within reaching distance of the driver’s seat.
17. Tactical Flashlight
A flashlight will also help you in a variety of emergencies. Light is your friend, whether you’re looking for a lost item beneath the car seats or you’re stranded on a dark road.
18. Toilet Paper
When you gotta go, you gotta go. Sometimes you can’t make it to a bathroom when you’re behind the wheel. Keep a roll of toilet paper among your emergency trunk essentials and leave nothing to chance.
19. Spare Change
Spare change will help you pay for road tolls and other unexpected driving expenses. It might also save you some trouble if a homeless person starts panhandling in front of your car. Keep some fives, ones and coins in a bag in your glove compartment.
20. Phone Charger
Your phone is your primary means of communication, so need to keep it charged while you’re driving. If you only have one charger, buy another to keep in your house. Your car should always have one.
This one is a no-brainer. Driving with the sun in your eyes is extremely annoying and dangerous. Keep a pair of sunglasses in your car to stay safe.
Nobody wants to safely arrive at their destination just to get soaked by rain on the way to the door. An umbrella will spare you from the rain and keep you looking sharp.
23. Lighter or Matches
Having a fire source gives humans peace of mind. It gives you access to light and heat – two much-needed elements in many emergency situations.
24. Work Gloves
If you need to do roadside repair work, your hands are going to get grease and grime on them without protection. Keep some work gloves in your car for when things get dirty.
25. Chewing Gum
A pack of gum might not help you in emergencies, but it does help you in every social situation. Never underestimate the power of fresh breath.
Stay Prepared Behind the Wheel
Will you be prepared when things go wrong behind the wheel? These 25 items will help you through any and every sticky situation. Put them in your car and keep them there!