How To Pack an Emergency Kit for Your Car

Having your car break down on a lonely road during a long trip is high on most people’s list of things to avoid—but it happens. If you’re stranded without sustenance and shelter and your phone is about to die, panic can quickly take over. It gets even worse if you’re passing through grizzly bear country with tired kids during a freak summer blizzard and a nearby prison outbreak. So having a well-stocked emergency kit for your car can give you the peace of mind and tools you’ll need to keep your stranded experience from becoming an unfortunate news item.

Here’s what you should consider packing in your car’s emergency kit:

Communication Tools
Consumer Reports ranks a charged cell phone as possibly the single most important item you can have with you on any excursion because it means that help is only a text or call away—as long as there is cell reception, that is. Be sure to bring the following:

Your mobile phone (as if you ever leave the house without it)
A car charger—and bonus points (not to mention sighs of relief) if you have a solar device charger
Roadside assistance phone numbers programmed into your phone as well as written down and stored with important car documents like your registration and insurance
An AM/FM and weather radio to stay alert to any potential weather or road hazards in your area
LED flashlights or headlamps
Fresh batteries stored in a waterproof baggie
Flares and reflective triangles
A whistle


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