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Road Preparedness 101: Stock Your Vehicle With These Essential Items

Nov 20, 2014 06:55PM ● By Erin Frisch

America has a lot of open road out there, and most of it is far from a mechanic's shop. Of the 4.09 million miles of roads crisscrossing America, 2.98 million miles of them are found in rural regions, and more than 220,000 miles are highways, according to the American Road and Transportation Builders Association. Nothing ruins a car trip like being unprepared for an emergency, so put together a car emergency kit well before you need it. Make sure you include the following:

First Aid Kit

The first thing you should buy for your emergency kit is a first aid kit. A good first aid kit includes bandages, antiseptic, sanitary gloves, scissors, tape and burn cream. If there are any passengers with particular needs that you are aware of, include appropriate treatment options your kit.

Fire Extinguisher

Use a Class B and Class C-rated fire extinguisher in your car. They are appropriate for fires that involve combustible fluids like gasoline as well as fires involving electrical equipment.

Reflective Triangles

Have at least three in your car so you can place them leading up to an accident in 50-foot intervals. Many pre-built emergency kits only come with one, so be sure to stock up.

Jumper Cables

Many a potential emergency has been thwarted by a good set of jumper cables. They should be at least 10 feet long for those situations where it is difficult to get two cars close to one another.

Spare Tire

While it won't fit in your emergency bag, a spare tire is a necessary component of your kit. Make sure you have a reliable spare, and check the pressure on it and all the tires before you head out for an extended road trip. Like jumper cables, a spare tire can avert disaster.


Rather than have a huge tool kit in your car, a single multi-tool can do for most of your needs. You'll still want to keep your tire iron handy, but a multi-tool is a great way to be prepared for anything.


A shake-to-charge flashlight that doesn't rely on batteries ensures that you won't be stuck with a light source that doesn't work when you need it most.

Rain Poncho

It might not seem like much, but when you are changing a tire in the rain or snow, a plastic poncho becomes your best friend.

Warm Blanket

Should you have to spend the night in your car trapped in a snowstorm, a nice warm blanket can make the night much more bearable.

Windshield Scraper

A lot of pre-packaged emergency kits don't come with a tool to scrap the ice off your windshield, so if you live somewhere where you might need one, be sure to include it in your emergency kit.

Duct Tape

Duct tape can be used for so many different purposes that it is a critical component of any emergency kit. A 10-foot roll takes up practically no space at all, so be sure to throw one in your kit.

Did we leave anything out? Leave a us comment below.

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