Emergency Preparedness: Car Emergency Kit

For my last post in the National Preparedness Month series, I wanted to focus on more of an every-day kind of emergency that comes up: car trouble.  It’s a lot more likely that you’ll have car trouble than it is that you’ll have a hurricane or wildfires strike!


(photo: walmart.com)

(photo: walmart.com)


First, let’s start with the “Something went wrong with the car and I have to fix it” list.  This is a list of helpful tools to get you out of many jams, or even a minor fender bender, but it’s just as important to know how to use them:

  • Hazard Triangle or flares

  • Fix-a-flat cans (2 of them, to be safe!)

  • Jumper cables

  • Tire Iron

  • Jack

  • Basic tools (flat head screwdriver, Philips head screwdriver, pliers, socket wrench, knife or scissors)

  • Antifreeze

  • Can of motor oil

  • Tire pressure gauge

  • Duct tape (can use it in a pinch to repair a hose)

  • Flashlight

  • Small shovel (to help with getting caught in dirt or snow)

  • Fire extinguisher

  • Rags or paper towels, to help clean up after the mess that all these other things helped to make

  • Pen and paper, in case you need to jot down notes (like after a car accident)

  • Disposable camera or camera phone to take pictures if an accident occurs


Remember to always put your hazards on, pull as far to the side of the road as you possibly can, and, if at all avoidable, don’t put yourself between the car and the traffic coming down the road.  Tragic accidents have occurred when people are just trying to deal with a simple flat tire.


Just as important, you need to be prepared for car trouble that leaves you stranded for a while.  Here in New England, there’s the risk of getting caught in a snow storm, but there are risks for being stranded all over the country.

  • First aid kit

  • Water

  • Blanket (wool or mylar space blankets)

  • Non-perishable food (granola bars, dried fruit, and nuts, etc)

  • Ice scraper and snow brush (if you’re in a place that gets any snow, this is a must!)

  • Gloves or chemical hand warmers



Of course, the most important thing to have:

  • Roadside assistance card… an unexpired one!







  1. Janet Barclay

    I was feeling worried because I don’t have quite a few of these items, but I DO have a current roadside assistance card, so whew!

    • clevergirlorg

      That and a little know-how will get many of us out of a small jam!

    • clevergirlorg

      That and a little know-how can get many of us out of a small jam!

  2. Olive Wagar

    Great list! I also have an accident report form from my insurance company with my proof of insurance & car registration. The disposable camera would be useful if you didn’t have your phone!


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