You never know what situation you may face while driving; car accidents and mechanical trouble can strike at any time. Your best bet is to be prepared for the unexpected. Do you have a well-planned emergency kit in your car to help you out? If not, now’s the time to create one with these essential items.

Year-Round Basics
A few items make sense to have in your vehicle at all times, like a small fire extinguisher, a flashlight, jumper cables, tools to change or temporarily repair a flat tire, and hazard triangles to signal other motorists of trouble. A cellphone charger, tire gauge, paper and pencil, and small amount of cash, including change, can also come in handy when you’re surprised with a setback.

And don’t forget to include a first-aid kit with crucial items like bandages, ointment and scissors. Be sure to check the kit and restock it regularly.

Cold-Weather Additions
Driving in winter weather conditions can present special challenges for drivers of all experience levels. In addition to the items mentioned above, keep the following on hand in case of a cold-weather emergency:

  • A blanket and extra clothing like hats and gloves
  • Ice scraper for the windshield
  • Shovel in case you need to dig out of a snowbank
  • Cat litter to help gain traction
  • Water and nonperishable food

Necessary Precautions
Before embarking on a long trip, have a mechanic perform a thorough check of your vehicle, including a look at your tires and fluid levels. If you find yourself driving in inclement weather, be extra vigilant and always avoid hazardous road conditions like flooding or fallen power lines.

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