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Having an emergency road kit may mean the difference between sitting on the side of the highway waiting for a tow truck or being able to make your way to your destination.


  1. Use a cardboard or plastic box to keep everything in so it doesn’t roll around in the trunk and you can easily find what you need.
  2. Buy or cull together a first aid kit.
  3. Include a roadside emergency card.
  4. Throw in all the necessary equipment to change a tire: working jack, spare tire (with air in it!), lug nut wrench or tire iron, pipe for leverage. Most of this should already be stored in its designated place in the car’s trunk or hatchback.
  5. Have a flashlight with fresh batteries in there.
  6. Include triangle reflectors and flares.
  7. Include rags and a funnel.
  8. Purchase all the necessary fluids: 2 qts. of oil (10W-40), a gallon of water and antifreeze, brake fluid, power-steering fluid (if applicable), and automatic transmission fluid (if applicable).
  9. Add flat and Phillips-head screwdrivers, pliers and an adjustable wrench (only to be used in an emergency – adjustable wrenches can easily round the head of bolts).
  10. Buy jumper cables (at least eight feet long).
  11. Toss in work gloves or latex gloves, duct tape (of course), a blanket, spare fuses and a can of Fix-a-Flat.


  • Some optional items to consider: a Swiss Army knife, a good book, a credit card, a pillow, a bathing suit, tasty snacks, a beach chair and, to make your mom happy, a pair of clean underwear.
  • If you live in an area with freezing temperatures, keep a collapsible shovel in the car in case you need to dig your car out of ice or snow.
  • If you break down or are in and accident on a foggy night, reflective triangles won’t cut it. Get a six pack of flares (the longer the burn time, the better). Set the first ones about 50 yards behind and in front of the vehicle(s), the others close enough to illuminate the scene. You will be able to assist others that don’t have the proper equipment as well.
  • In that emergency box put an extra key for the locking gas cap.
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