1) Cell Phone and Portable Charger
Always carry a cell phone and make sure it’s fully charged before getting into your car. To be safe, keep a portable phone charger on hand that can plug into a cigarette lighter or other car outlet. You can find a variety of cell-phone chargers on the market these days: battery-powered chargers, solar-powered chargers and even chargers you crank with your hand. In addition, keep an old, fully-charged phone in your car for backup if you have one. Cellular providers are required to complete 911 calls from cell phones, even if service is not activated.
2) Fire Extinguisher
If you’re in an accident and there’s a small fire, a fire extinguisher can stop something that could turn into a true disaster. Because it is possible for blazes to start from accidents, overheated engines or leaking oil or other fluids, make sure to purchase an extinguisher that can douse chemical fires. If a fire does break out in your engine area, don’t open the hood. Instead, spray the extinguisher up from under the wheel well.
3) Reflective Triangles and Road Flares
Be sure to carry at least two reflective triangles or road flares. They’ll alert other motorists that you’re in trouble and serve as notice to drive carefully around you. If you find yourself on the shoulder, place one about 10 feet behind your car and another 100 feet beyond that. As you walk to place the triangles near your car, hold them in front of you so you’re visible to oncoming traffic.
4) First-Aid Kit
A first-aid kit can be vital if you’re in an accident and someone has injuries. Slowing down bleeding quickly can mean the difference between walking something off and going into shock. The kit should contain items like bandages, gauze, antiseptic wipes, scissors, non-latex gloves and a first-aid instruction booklet. You can purchase ready-made kits or create your own. The American Red Cross offers a detailed list of items you’ll want to include.
5) Flashlight or Headlamp
Always carry an LED flashlight or headlamp in case you get into a car accident at night or you need to look for something in your car that requires more light to find. Also make sure to have extra flashlight batteries or purchase a flashlight that uses a hand crank to recharge.