Emergency car kit

11 Emergency Essentials To Keep In Your Car

The weather is warm, vacation has started, you’re 50 miles from your destination—and chances are you’re not thinking about what could go wrong on the road ahead.

“While no one can plan for car trouble, in emergency situations it is helpful to have some preparations in place,” says Mindy West, GEICO director of Centralized Services. So stock your car with these basics and don’t forget to replace water and batteries as needed.

1. First-aid Kit & Accessories

Add a flashlight and whistle to your basic first-aid kit. Set a calendar reminder to change the flashlight batteries every few months.

2. Basic Tools

Always be sure to have at least three tools on hand: a screwdriver (to tighten up something that’s been loosened by vibration or age), a torque wrench (to correctly set nuts) and a utility knife (in case you ever need to cut yourself out of your seatbelt after an accident).

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3. Gloves

Protecting your hands is a must, no matter what the temperature. Opt for sturdy mechanic gloves made of leather or a rubber and synthetic combination.

4. Tow Rope & Bungee Cords

These can be invaluable to help get you out of a jam. To use the tow rope, you’ll need to find another car that’s able to yank yours to safety. Bungees help you safely secure an item to your car’s roof.

5. Warning Triangles & Light Sticks

Make certain other motorists can see you, day or night. Bonus: Since they don’t need batteries, you don’t have to worry about upkeep.

6. Tire Pressure Gauge

Tire pressure—which ensures maximum handling, traction and durability—fluctuates with the temperature, so it’s important to keep a gauge handy. Tires may become over-inflated when the outside temperature is hot and under-inflated when it’s cold.

7. Phone Charger

As important as your phone itself. Add an adapter for the cigarette lighter if your car doesn’t have a USB port.

8. Jumper Cables

In case your car battery goes dead. And of course, you should know how to use them. (Psst… here’s how to jump-start your car.)

9. Water & Snacks

In case of an emergency, they’ll provide sustenance until help arrives.

10. Extra Clothes

For unexpected outdoor adventures, pack a rain jacket and at least one layer of clothing to keep you warm.

11. Kitty Litter

Stuck in the mud or snow? With a small bag in the trunk, you’ll be able to sprinkle some around your tires for traction.

With 24/7 assistance from GEICO Emergency Roadside Service (ERS) available on your GEICO Mobile app, you’ll be back on the road in no time with a spare tire or a jump. Add ERS to your policy, starting at just $14 per year, per car.  

By Lucy Maher

Next: Top 4 Causes of Summer Car Breakdowns

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    Leave a comment

  1. georgia carman says,

    Thank you. Oddly, I have those things in my auto. I have Lupus, have to evacuate if electricity goes out. I have 3 small canvas suitcases on rollers packed with needs in case i have to go far enough or long enough, if I evacuate due to hurricane, tornadoes or flooding. 1 case has all i need for 2 days. 1 case has shampoo, hair spray, skin cream, umbrella, & various other personal things. 1 insulated case has all medications & supplements, plus I carry a small ice chest for foods, a cool wrap, and insulin in vials also 10 prepared filled syringes in a olive jar.
    A thin fold out pad to sleep on plus a pillow & fleece throw for cover. 1 sheet is nice to have & window shades for all windows for privacy. I have a small 1st aid kit & small tool kit. I will get a set of jumper cables this week.
    Thank from a person who has had plenty of emergencies while away from home. I have been stranded in floods 6 times in my life.

    • Doreen says,

      Thank you Georgia Carman for your post. My husband uses insulin twice a day. Although he might be OK for a day but I am not sure about a few days. I will add some syringes to my emergency kit. I will have to think about how I can quickly grab and insulin bottle from the fridge, the stock is stored in the top/back, in an emergency. Maybe I can keep one bottle out of the zip bag!

      I am going to set-up a crate to keep all this stuff in my trunk. Always say I will but have not done so yet. Thanks Geico for the information.

      And Twila Hoodah, I will look for glass bottles of water, there must be some sold somewhere?!?!?

  2. Roland Gomez says,

    Geico is a wonderful Insurance company that really cares for their people!!!!
    Thank for everything you do for me!!!

  3. Twyla Hoodah says,

    I don’t suggest anyone living and who wants to be healthy store water in their vehicle for ingesting unless it is in a sterile glass bottle, appropriately capped. Even then, extreme temperature changes in hot climates can change that water to inedible. I won’t bother explaining the toxic soup that is water in plastic bottles.

    • Kaye says,

      I keep a case of water in plastic bottles in the trunk of my car, but replace it usually within two weeks as it’s used. This way, I can take what I need every few days into the house, have it with me when driving, and it’s always fresh and safe to drink.

    • Deborah Thurston says,

      I agree that it is not the best way to store water but it is a LOT better for a disaster lasting a few days than drinking urine. After 3 days your organs start to shut down & that is hard to stop.

  4. Steve Nolden says,

    Snacks and water go bad if you leave them in your car, especially if the car is sitting in the sun!

  5. Leo says,

    I would say not just jumper cables, but the portable car jump starter. They are not that expensive , and a lot can charge your cell phone too. It helped me several times already when my car will not start.

    • David Olson says,

      If the water bottle freezing is a concern, you can substitute a bottle of alcohol (beer, wine, etc.) Think of those St. Bernard dogs. If your state has an open bottle law put it in a different bottle. This has to be minded for going bad more than water needs to be.

  6. Jacob Munn says,

    How about paper maps incase the GPS or cell phone service goes down
    Tool lit, most cars don’t come with one – duct tape, electrical tape, screw drivers, a wrench…

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