Home > Ask Gary > ASK GARY: What Should be in a Roadside Emergency Kit?

ASK GARY: What Should be in a Roadside Emergency Kit?

When you are driving any distance, a roadside emergency kit can be the difference between getting back on the road and being stuck for hours. A roadside emergency kit is the one item that every driver should carry; yet many of us are missing several basic items that are not only convenient, but potentially life-saving.

If and when an emergency occurs, the most important thing is not to panic, and keep a level head. The second most important thing is to be prepared. While on the road, dozens of situations can arise where foresight is necessary. The following suggestions are only meant to cover the basics, so feel free to include additional items as you see fit.

-One gallon of distilled water

If you need to add water to your car battery, distilled water is better. And if you’re stranded outside for a while, you can use the water to stay hydrated.

-Old cell phone

Even if you aren’t currently using it, old cell phones are still able to call 911. Leave an obsolete, fully charged phone in case yours is damaged, or runs out of batteries.

-Flash light

Accidents happen at night, too.  Periodically check the batteries so it is functioning when you need it.


Getting stuck out in the cold can be dangerous. A blanket can additionally be used to put out any small fires.

-First-aid kit

Stock your kit with bandages, adhesive tape, gauze, and anything else you can think of that might be helpful in an emergency. Also include any personal medication you or your family might need.

-Duct tape

This can be used to repair a leaking car hose or fix a malfunctioning car door, trunk, or hood.

-Signal flares

Make sure you stay visible when it’s dark. Plus, nothing shouts distress quite like signal flares.

-Jumper cables

Make sure you know how to use them.


Changing a fuse is fairly simple. Keep a stock of the different fuses your car might need.

-Foam tire sealant

For minor punctures, this can be a life-saver. This also helps re-inflate the tire.

-Instructions on fixing common car problems

If you don’t know how to change a tire, jump a battery, or are afraid of forgetting, keep this as a reference guide for your emergency kit. It can be as simple as directions written on a piece of paper.

Don’t forget that the best way to avoid roadside emergencies is regular maintenance! Taking care of your vehicle will keep you driving smoothly, but you can never be too careful.

Be Safe!


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