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How to Build a Car Emergency Kit for Roadside Safety

By Aaron Crowe

Car Emergency Kit
You may prepare for your next road trip with careful packing, deliberate mapping and plenty of activities to keep the kids occupied in the car. But if you're not ready for the unexpected, you're not fully prepared.

Road trips often get derailed or sidetracked by unforeseen events. A major weather event, road construction, or car trouble can strand drivers for hours. Before taking your next trip, be sure your car is stocked with an emergency roadside supply kit that can provide basic needs for you and your passengers in case of an unforeseen event:

Personal Items

When assembling or purchasing an emergency car kit, make sure it includes the items that can keep passengers safe and comfortable in case of being stranded. For instance, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends including:

  • Non-perishable food items with protein such as nuts and energy bars
  • Water for each person and pet in the car, and baby formula if traveling with a small child
  • A first aid kit and any medications needed by each person in the car (to build a quality first aid kit, use the guidelines suggested by the Red Cross.)
  • A blanket and warm clothes in cooler climates or seasons
Vehicle Items

In addition to the items you'll need to take care of yourself and passengers in the case of an emergency, it's also important to stock your roadside emergency kit with items that can help you tend to your car. For instance, include:

  • Jumper cables
  • A flashlight and extra batteries
  • Handheld radio to listen to traffic reports and emergency messages
  • Flares or reflective triangle
  • A shovel and ice scraper in the winter months
Additional Preparation

Along with keeping a stocked emergency kit in your car, be sure your cell phone is fully charged before making a road trip, and keep your gas tank full. If you do get stranded, FEMA recommends staying safe by remaining in your car, calling for help and waiting until it arrives.

September 12, 2013, 10:36 AM

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