As a responsible driver (which you certainly are if you’re reading our blog), ensuring your safety and preparedness on the road is paramount. While modern vehicles come equipped with a range of features to keep you safe, keeping some extra items in your car to handle unexpected situations is a good idea.
In this article, we’ll discuss ten must-have items every driver should carry in their car.
First Aid Kit: Accidents can happen anywhere, and having a basic first aid kit in your car can be a lifesaver. Ensure it includes bandages, antiseptic wipes, adhesive tape, pain relievers, and any necessary medications for you or your passengers.
Accidents can result in injuries (probably not news to you), and having a first aid kit can provide immediate care until professional help arrives. It’s not only beneficial for your own well-being but also for assisting others in need.
Jumper Cables: There are few things in life more irritating than having your plans derailed by a dead battery, and that’s why jumper cables are a must. They can help you jump-start your car with the assistance of another vehicle, getting you back on the road quickly.
You should also invest in a jump starter so you don’t have to rely on a friendly motorist being around when you need one. It’s also much less painful to help someone else out when jumping their car from a dedicated jump starter rather than your own vehicle’s battery.
Don’t underestimate the ability to jump-start your own vehicle. You’ll save yourself the cost of a tow and likely be able to get a replacement battery quickly.
Flashlight and Extra Batteries: A flashlight is invaluable, especially in low-light or emergency situations when you may have to inspect your car in the dark. Ensure it’s in good working condition and keep extra batteries on hand.
If you enjoy road trips, a flashlight is also helpful for navigating poorly lit rest areas at night. It makes a less tempting target than a cell phone and still does the job.
Reflective Vest and Warning Triangles: If your car breaks down or you’re involved in an accident, you’ll want to be visible to other drivers. A reflective vest and warning triangles can make you easily noticeable and help prevent further accidents. The last thing you need after being in a collision is being in another accident immediately after.
Tire Repair Kit and Air Compressor: If a dead battery is the most annoying way to disrupt your plans, a flat tire is a close second. A flat tire can happen at any time, often without warning, and having a tire repair kit and air compressor can get you back on the road without needing towing.
You’ll also want to learn how to use these tools before they become necessary. Additionally, there are some situations where a tire can’t be repaired, and you should learn to recognize those. Flat tires are a common issue, and a tire repair kit combined with an air compressor can frequently help you fix the problem on the spot, saving time and money.
Multi-Tool or Swiss Army Knife: A versatile tool like a multi-tool or Swiss Army knife can be convenient for various tasks, from cutting seatbelts in emergencies to minor car repairs. Having one in your car can be a game-changer when faced with unexpected challenges.
Honestly, we could do an entire blog post on “stuff you can do with a multi-tool,” and 85% of it would have nothing to do with cars. They’re just a good thing to have around.
Blanket or Sleeping Bag: While it’s unlikely you’ll ever be stranded on the frozen tundra in your Ford Escape, it’s entirely possible you could find yourself waiting for roadside assistance in cold weather. A warm blanket or sleeping bag can keep you comfortable and prevent hypothermia. Also, sometimes you need to have a spontaneous picnic. Which brings us to…
Non-Perishable Snacks and Water: Staying nourished and hydrated is crucial during extended roadside emergencies. Keep non-perishable snacks like energy bars and water bottles in your car. Being prepared with snacks and water can make a long wait for assistance more bearable.
We stand by our previous statement regarding spontaneous picnics.
Cell Phone Charger and Power Bank: Look, if you’re not always carrying your cell phone with you at this point, you don’t have or want one. For everyone else, your cell phone is your lifeline in emergencies, so make sure it’s always charged.
Carrying a car charger is always a good idea, but you may also want to invest in a power bank. Car chargers can sometimes be slow, and not all work if your car is off, so the power bank is an excellent backup.
Owner’s Manual and Car Documents: Always have your vehicle’s owner’s manual, insurance papers, and registration documents in your glove compartment. These are essential in case of accidents, scary blinking lights on your dashboard, or getting pulled over. Of course, that would never happen to you. We’re talking about different people.
In conclusion, these ten essential items are invaluable for every driver to have in their car. Some are for emergency situations (and hopefully, you’ll never need them). Still, others are just nice quality-of-life upgrades for any driver. So, take the time to assemble these items and keep them in your vehicle—you never know when they might come to the rescue during your travels.