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Creating an Emergency Road Kit for Your Car
by Jeremy Henricks

Keeping an emergency road kit in your vehicle may mean the difference between sitting on the side of the road waiting for help, or reaching your final destination.

Because of limited trunk space, most emergency road kits include too few items, but here's what we recommend as essential items:

  • Buy or put together a first aid kit (see "Preparing a First Aid Kit").
  • Include everything needed to change a tire: a two-ton floor jack (or equivalent), a fully aired spare tire, a lug nut wrench or tire iron, and a pipe for leverage. Most vehicles come with these items, but you should verify that you have everything listed, or it'll be next to impossible to change a tire.
  • Flashlights and extra batteries.
  • A folding camping (Army) shovel.
  • Jumper cables (eight to twelve feet long).
  • Set of tire chains. Know how to install these beforehand.
  • Fuses. There are several types, so make sure you have the right ones.
  • Tools: pliers, flat and Phillips-head screwdrivers, and an adjustable wrench.
  • Wool blanket.
  • Purchase all the necessary fluids for your car, including 2 quarts of motor oil, brake fluid, power-steering fluid (if applicable), automatic transmission fluid (if applicable), a gallon of water, and a gallon of antifreeze. Also include a funnel, and keep a few rags handy in case of spills.
  • Fire extinguisher.
  • Road flares.
  • Gloves, wool socks, and a pair of boots.
  • Electrical and duct tape.
  • WD-40.
  • Knife.
  • Bright cloth or emergency road sign to display in your window in case of trouble.
Other items you may want to consider are:
  • Non-perishable food items and a can opener.
  • Rain gear
  • Extra clothes
  • Folding chair(s)
  • Pillows
  • Sleeping bags
  • Snacks
  • Books and games
  • Toilet paper

To store everything, purchase an inexpensive tackle box or something similar. This keeps everything in one location without having to search for what you need, and it prevents everything from rolling around in your trunk. You can also use an ActionPacker from RubberMaid.


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