WHAT IS IN YOUR CAR EMERGENCY KIT?
Written By Misty Knapp
Consider the following scenario: you are traveling long distance to grandma’s house for the holidays and encounter light snowfall, which soon turns into heavy snowfall and you are forced to pull over and wait it out. Are you prepared? What about for the next seventy-two hours?
When we think of a car emergency, we tend to think of it simply overheating (that is a problem in and of itself), or simply having a flat tire that needs to be changed, or even running out of gas. When you are out, you are not likely thinking about having an emergency travel kit for your car, or even what is in yours, should you already have one. It is important that you take a look at what is in your car emergency kit or even consider buying, or making a do it yourself kit. It is also important that you know how to use every tool that you have in yours, that you buy as you build a kit, or those that come in premade kits.
If you already have a kit, take a look inside. What items do you see? Most likely, road hazard signs (letting your car be visible to others), flashlight, maybe a few granola bars, and a couple bottles of water. Perhaps you have a small multipurpose tool in there, such as a Swiss Army knife. Maybe there is even a set of jumper cables and even a basic first aid kit. Will that help you and your family survive an emergency? Probably not and it is okay. Now is the time to go through your kit and add items that will make it better or better yet, just make your own emergency travel kit for the car.
IS THERE A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN KITS?
We have been talking about buying a premade kit or making one yourself. Is one version better than the other? Not really.They both are good options but serve different needs.
For example, if you or a family member has an allergy of any type, it might make more sense for you to make your own kit, thereby controlling what is being put in there. Costwise, you can expect to pay as little as $25 for a very basic premade emergency kit but you can also pay upwards to $200+ and several prices in between. You can pay as little or as much as you want when putting together your own kits–and yes, you need an emergency car kit for every vehicle you own.
There are roadside emergency car kits that can be bought in a store or online. DECKED is a good place to shop if you are short on time (i.e. planning a trip within two-four weeks) and don’t want to spend time looking, comparing emergency kits, or putting your own together. They have been perfecting the emergency travel kit for a car or truck for years now. A premade kit will meet most of your needs.
In most premade kits, you can find items such as jumper cables, a flashlight, emergency triangles (for putting outside the car so it is visible to others), basic medical supplies, basic foods, such as nutritional bars and water, gloves, and simple tools. The store-bought kits will do the job until you can get to safety. There is nothing wrong with buying a kit from the store if it contains the items you will need in order to survive for seventy two hours, but most of you will want to put together your own kits.
If you decide to put together your own emergency survival kit for your car (and keep in mind that you should do this for every vehicle you own), we are providing a car emergency kit list that will guide you. Here are a few of the items you want to make sure you put inside:
- Jumper cables
- Air compressor and tire inflator
- Car jack
- Collapsible shovel
- Non-perishable foods (tailored to any allergies)
- Medical equipment or basic first aid kit
- Flashlights with extra batteries
- Emergency triangles (so your car is visible to others)
- Blankets, hats, gloves, and other winter clothes
- A sleeping bag, blankets, and travel pillows
- Cell phone and charger
- Water for each member to last seventy-two hours and for the car
- Kitty litter (for added traction)
- Flares and waterproof matches
- Tools (ice scraper, a multi-tool, such as a Swiss Army knife, fire extinguisher, and a window breaker)
- A properly inflated spare tire
The goal, however, is to keep you and your family safe and alive until you are found, (hopefully) within the next seventy two hours.
Off roading or country back roads
When you are off roading or on country back roads, it is good to make sure you pack an extra phone charger and a couple of other items as well, as you cannot depend on someone passing by anytime soon. Also, make sure you have a tire inflator. You may not need to change the tire yet but simply need to add a little air– it should hold until you can get somewhere to see about your tire. Since most things on a truck are larger than on a standard car, make sure your tools are equipped for larger bolts, nuts, etc. You can use a regular list for what to put in a car emergency kit or simply buy a good premade one for trucks. An empty gas can is a must when driving your truck. You might need it or encounter someone who has been stranded and needs it. Chains are a good thing to have, in case you need to pull someone out of a ditch or even for towing a very short distance (most police frown upon it!).
WOMEN EMERGENCY CAR KIT
When it comes to emergency survival kits for the car, it is a good idea for women to know how to use the tools that are kept in their car. Do you need something different in your car? Just get an emergency kit. The idea of genderizingng emergency kits (yes, there actually is a pink car emergency kit that was designed for women to use) is silly, because you need to survive, not look pretty. It is a good idea for all drivers—women, men, non-binary, other—to have an emergency travel kit for every car they are driving. In addition to the premade or diy emergency kits, it is important to make sure you have a car emergency first aid kit. For kits designed with females in mind, extra supplies might be sanitary supplies, baby wipes, napkins or tissues, a good pair of walking shoes, or even a tool to help a female urinate in the woods, if necessary. You will need to decide what types of supplies you might need if you are stranded somewhere. Oh, and make sure to include a cell phone and charger!
BABY EMERGENCY KIT FOR CAR
It is very important to make sure you have a baby emergency kit for your car or to add to yours. Babies need a couple of different items in order to be safe for up to seventy-two hours. For example, they will need diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream, pacifiers, sunscreen, a couple of changes of winter or summer clothes, formula, and a couple of bottles with the necessary parts. You should already have these items in your home but it might be a good idea to buy a couple of travel size items (there are some premade formula bottles on the shelves but it depends on how old your baby is) and keep them in your kit.
CHILDREN EMERGENCY KIT FOR CAR
When it comes to having children in an emergency situation, having their own emergency kit for the car will make it better. Make sure you include a coloring book with a few crayons or some paper and pen. Something to help keep their minds off the situation and occupied. They won’t likely need different supplies than yours but include a couple of favorite snacks and little sized water bottles.
SUMMER EMERGENCY KIT FOR CAR
If you have a summer emergency when traveling with your car, the summer list is almost the same as the winter emergency kit for the car. But, there are a couple of differences, such as lightweight clothes and a lightweight jacket (wherever you are, chances are it will start to cool off after the sun sets), and you will need to keep more water in the car to prevent dehydration and your car overheating.
There is nothing stopping you from being safe whenever you are traveling (except your imagination!). You virtually can put together any type of car emergency kit you can think of. You can also overthink it and let fear rule you. Don’t let fear rule you! DECKED has a lot of nifty supplies you could ever want for your truck, car, or any type of vehicle you have. When you are going camping or off-roading and need more supplies than your basic car emergency kit, you can find a lot of ideas here on our site, DECKED.