Make sure you’re ready for the worst by keeping at least a basic roadside emergency kit in your car at all times. You don’t have to go out and buy a kit. You can save money and build your own car emergency kit. There are several items you should consider keeping packed in your trunk so you can always be prepared. You will be so glad to have a DIY Car Emergency Kit on hand if you experience trouble on the road. Help keep your family safe with this printable list!
It sounds like the beginning of a scary movie. You and your family are driving down a long dirt road in the middle of the countryside when suddenly something goes wrong. The car rumbles, rattles then completely shuts down. You roll to the side of the road and even before you come to a complete stop you’re whipping out your cell phone to call roadside assistance. No luck. The screen reads “no service” without even a flicker for a signal. The closest town is several miles back and you don’t expect to reach civilization again for several miles more. The temperature outside is not ideal, either. Are you prepared to keep your family safe until help arrives?
Build Your Own Car Emergency Kit
If possible, keep a pre-paid satellite phone (or Off-Grid SMS & GPS Device that can chat, send texts and location information without cell service or Wi-Fi) in your glove box for just such an emergency. It is possible to get a pre-paid plan from most of the companies that cover the continental United States. Or get the OnStar service.
Even if you have a phone, however, that doesn’t mean that help will arrive soon or even in the next couple of hours. If you’re stuck in a snowstorm, it could be even longer. So it is always best to have a full roadside emergency kit on hand. Here is how to build your own car emergency kit.
Roadside Emergency Kit Checklist
- Jumper cables
- Properly inflated spare tire, wheel wrench, and jack
- Flashlight (preferably weather-proof) and backup batteries
- Reflective triangles
- A complete first aid kit (23 piece or more)
- A gallon of water
- Nonperishable food (such as energy bars or unsalted nuts)
- Waterproof poncho
- heavy duty work gloves
- reflective safety vest
- strong whistle & tie
- roadside flares or 12 hour light sticks
- air compressor / tire inflator
- engine oil
- A heavy duty multi-tool (with screwdrivers, knives, wire cutter, small saw, pliers, etc.)
- adjustable wrench
- tire pressure gauge
- foam tire sealant
- paper towels
- duct tape
- washer fluid in spray bottle
- pen and paper
- “Help” sign
- fire extinguisher
- coolant hose repair kit
- Heavy-duty bag for carrying necessary supplies
While this may seem like a lot, many of these items can be packed tightly and stored in a heavy duty bag in your trunk. If you’re planning on driving in the winter, make sure you add the following items in case of a sudden snow storm:
Winter Weather Roadside Kit Additions
- thermal blanket or extra thick blanket
- knit cap
- extra sweaters, socks, and walking shoes
- windshield scraper
- hand warming packets
- compact, foldable shovel
- emergency survival guide/instruction card
- bag of cat litter or play sand (for traction and/or extra weight in rear of vehicle)
Printable Must Haves For Roadside Safety
When it comes to traveling with your family, you can never be too careful. By packing an emergency roadside kit before you leave, you are insuring that you and your family will be prepared in case of an unexpected incident on the road. And if you don’t have time to collect all of these items on your own, pre-packed emergency roadside kits can also be found online.
Just make sure your Roadside Emergency Kit has the basic items listed above. Do you have one in your car? Are you going to build your own car emergency kit now? Would you suggest any additional items for a DIY Car Emergency Kit?
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Great post. I recently found myself lost in the middle of the night without cell service. That also meant my gps wasn’t working. It took me two hours to find my way home. It was pretty scary as I didn’t know anything about the area or where it would be safe for a woman alone to stop. I would have given anything for a paper map! Technology is awesome, but you are right on that having fail-safe backups is extremely important!