Cars are essentially traveling storage units. They can fit a lot of stuff—including the kind of stuff you never want to be without. Here are 11 things you can toss in your trunk to be prepared for anything.
If your car battery goes dead in a parking lot, it’s a lot easier to ask someone to jump start you than it is to call for a tow truck. Carry your own jumper cables to make things even easier in the event your car won’t start. Just be sure to check your owner’s manual to be certain you’re doing it the right way.
Even the most fastidious car owner will spill something at some point. Keep a stock of baby wipes on hand in case your morning coffee tips over or your niece gets carsick.
In an emergency (or on a summer road trip) having a stock of water in your car can keep you hydrated and healthy. It can also come in handy if your coolant tank springs a leak and your car begins to overheat. Just be sure to replace your drinking water every once in a while if your car gets really hot—some bottles can leach chemicals when overheated.
There’s no reason to go hungry in the car. Keep a few nonperishable snacks like granola bars, nuts, and dried fruit in the car to keep you going if you get stuck in traffic on the way to dinner.
You should always have at least a sweater stashed in your backseat. It will come in handy if the weather unexpectedly shifts. It’s also vital to have warm clothes or blankets in your car if you live in a cold area and might get stuck in a snowstorm for hours on end.
If your car gets stuck in the ice, snow, or mud, you can use kitty litter as a makeshift traction mat. Sprinkle it in front of the tires to give them better grip. Sand works, too, though you’re more likely to have cat litter on hand around the house. Just be sure it’s not the clumping kind.
Keep a first aid kit with basics like bandages, gauze, disinfectant, scissors, tweezers, and gloves. While you’re at it, throw in a whistle and a flashlight, too.
It can be dangerous to drive without a pair of shades, especially when the sun is low on the horizon or when there’s a lot of snow to cast glare. Don’t risk being blinded by the sunset or a really bright winter day.
CELL PHONE CHARGER
You want to be able to use your cell phone in an emergency, so keep a portable charger on hand in case your battery goes dead. It’ll also come in handy during all manner of “emergencies,” whether that means a flat tire or not being able to check Google Maps for the nearest cup of coffee.
Need to clean up a bunch of trash from a weeks-old fast food runs? Suddenly realize your passenger gets carsick easily? Headed to the grocery store? Keep some bags—plastic, paper, and even reusable cloth totes—to clean up messes and carry goods to and from your car.
Did we mention the importance of snacks? They’re for emergencies! Delicious, delicious emergencies.
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