We all want to be prepared for anything that comes our way on the road – such as a flat tire, getting stuck in a rainstorm or being stranded in the desert. To address these issues and more, we have created a roadside emergency kit checklist for you to use, add on to, and maybe even build one of your own.
A roadside car emergency kit is essentially everything you will need in the event that something unexpected happens while on the road – for example an accident, empty gas tank, broken parts, etc. We want to help you prepare and stay safe in any driving conditions or situation that you may wind up in while traveling.
This safety list is essentially a mixture of a first aid kit, car survival guide, and vehicle toolbox all rolled into one. Check out our automobile first aid kit and checklist below before you head out on your next road trip.
Emergency Kit Storage
Where to put your car emergency kit.
- Box or plastic container kept in the trunk or backseat of your vehicle.
- Target has a variety of containers – functional and stylish, they are also provided in an array of dimensions to fit the size and shape of your car storage compartments.
- Glove compartment – For smaller items or gadgets you may want more easily accessible.
What to do before leaving for a big trip.
- Take your car in to be checked by a licensed mechanic, or check yourself for any possible malfunctions or necessary tune-ups.
- Check your car emergency kit contents to ensure that they are intact and check off each item on your list, so you know you have every item you will need to set off on your trip.
Emergency Kit Items
What to pack in your car emergency kit.
Go online or visit a few local stores where you will be able to find everything you need. (Target will most likely have a majority of the items on your list!)
- Jumper cables
- Motor oil, coolant, gasoline container
- First aid kit – AAA has an amazing pre-packaged road trip first aid kit available to order on Amazon here!
- Flashlight and spare batteries
- Tool kit – Screwdrivers, wrenches, funnels and other tools that you will come in handy in the event your car needs repair. Here is a pre-packaged car tool kit, even including other items on our roadside emergency kit such as jumper cables and a flashlight!
- Spare tire (Typically kept under car or already has its own storage. Make sure it’s inflated.)
- Familiarize yourself with your car and make sure you are able to change your tires if need be. Here are some tips and instructions on how to change a car tire. Practice this at home, and print out the instructions to add to your safety kit for future reference.
- Tire pressure gauge
- Tire inflator and sealant
- Learn how to repair a tire here.
- Tow rope
- Fire extinguisher
- Emergency money
- Emergency contact list
- Car phone charger
- Extra set of keys
- Duct tape – Can be useful in any situation.
- Gloves – Both for warmth in a cold climate and for protecting your hands during possible repair.
- Ice scraper – I have an amazing ice scraper with a winter glove attached to keep my hand warm while removing ice and snow from my windows. You can get one here. There are many options on Amazon for under $20.
- Extra jacket or rain coat
- Sun shade – Amazon has a variety of sun shades starting at $10. (They even have a Star Wars-themed shade!)
- Food and water
What you may not necessarily need, but might want in the event of an emergency.
- Hand sanitizer
- Playing cards
- Paper towels
- Spare clothing
- Emergency radio – Find some tips on choosing an emergency radio here.
- Battery-powered fan – Walmart has some starting at $5!
How to Respond in an Emergency
What to do first in an emergency situation on the road.
- Pull over and put your hazard lights on.
- Make sure everyone in the car is okay.
- Call 911 or roadside assistance – It’s good to have the roadside assistance number written on your emergency contact sheet, but it should also be printed on your insurance card. Some newer cars are even equipped with an automatic call-and-assist system.
In the event of an emergency, especially on the road, we can only hope to be prepared for what comes our way. Hopefully this checklist can help everyone be more prepared for their next road adventure. Just check off each item as you go, and you will be all set for your next road trip excursion.
The next time you are stranded or lost, no need to panic, you have everything you would ever need at your disposal. You can even turn a flat tire into a fun activity with the family – do it together or play some card games while you wait for a tow truck!Written by: