What do I need in my car emergency kit?
The Government of Canada recommends including the following items in your car emergency kit:
- Food. Stock food that won’t spoil for several months, like granola bars. Be sure to swap them out every 4 to 6 months.
- Water. Fill up a few 2L plastic bottles. Glass bottles can break if the water freezes.
- Blanket. You don’t know what the weather conditions will be like and how long you’ll be waiting for help.
- Extra clothing and shoes. Throw in a hat with flaps for your ears, gloves, socks, and an extra pair of boots. You’ll also want a rain poncho in case you have to step out of your car in a storm.
- First aid kit. A standard kit has gauze pads of various sizes, an assortment of bandages, cleaning agent for wounds, scissors, tweezers, latex gloves, resuscitation equipment, and a splint.
- Seat belt cutter. This can be a game changer in an accident, although you may want to keep it some place close, like under the driver’s seat or in the map holding compartment on your door.
- Manual equipment. This includes a foldable shovel, scraper, and a snow brush. When the temperature drops, these are essential items in a winter car emergency kit.
- Wind-up flashlight. You don’t want to be stymied by dead batteries.
- Lighter, a deep can, and waterproof matches. This will provide an alternative heat and lighting source.
- Whistle. If you’re in a remote area, you’ll need to attract attention without constantly moving away from the safety of your car and emergency supplies.
- Roadmaps. Your phone may not be able to receive a signal for map apps.
- Sand, kitty litter, or salt. This will help you grip slippery items.
- Antifreeze and windshield washer fluid. These are obvious items, but it’s easy to forget to stock them or replace an empty bottle.
- Tow rope. This comes in handy if you need to get your car out of a ditch.
- Jumper cables. This’ll help you get your car started again when another driver offers help.
- Fire extinguisher. Self-explanatory, but definitely easy to overlook.
- Warning light or road flares. Getting stuck on the side of the road puts you in a vulnerable position, so it’s good to have signals to warn approaching drivers (and attract help).