Road emergencies are common in the United States and they can happen to anyone. Whether you have a brand new or used car, a driver should always be prepared for stressful situations. Having a basic car emergency kit is essential for safety, especially if you regularly drive in harsh conditions or are ready to head on a road trip.
According to research from the American Automobile Association (AAA), heavy rains have the biggest effect on vehicle safety systems and driving performance. During inclement weather, you're more likely to experience issues like a car breakdown, a flat tire or an overheated engine. Aside from emergencies stemming from environmental conditions, there are several other issues a driver may face while on the road. For example, you could run out of gas, get locked out or experience a dead battery.
Preparation is key to avoid extra costs and assistance delays, so you should always have a few basic car tools and essentials stowed away in your vehicle. From rechargeable flashlights and escape tools to fully loaded roadside emergency kits, these top-rated products will make any challenge you may encounter during your travels a little more bearable.
Car emergency essentials, recommended by shoppers
A AAA survey revealed that 40% of motorists do not carry an emergency kit in their vehicles. If you fall under that category, this roadside safety kit from EverStart is a good one to grab. With a solid 4.7-star average, this one features basic accessories like a tire inflator, rain poncho, first aid kit, booster cables and more.
If you ever find yourself trapped inside your car, this multipurpose tool can help. The dual-headed hammer includes a pointed spike and a flat side to break through tempered glass windows, plus a sharp seat belt cutter if you're stuck in your seat. Several Amazon shoppers who've rated this escape tool a perfect five stars have also noted how much safer they feel in their car after purchasing this.
For those moments when street lights are nearly absent, you'll want to have a flashlight in hand in case you're stranded in the middle of the night. This 4.6-star-rated one features a solar charger and provides eight minutes of light per one minute of cranking. Its small size also fits well on most keychains.
With 300 pieces included, this first aid kit will surely prepare you for minor injuries and emergencies. Whether you get a cut or burn, the kit is packed with bandages, sponges, antiseptic towelettes and more to keep you safe. Plus, with over 6,000 five-star verified ratings on Amazon and a few glowing reviews from first responders, you'll probably feel good knowing how shopper-loved it is.
This 4.8-star-rated emergency kit is for the newbie who needs assistance with a stylish twist. The pink sturdy bag comes with a first aid kit, hand crank emergency flashlight, multitool, tire gauge, emergency hammer, whistle with compass, ice scraper and a "How to Jump Start Your Car Instruction" card with jumper cables.
Having extra roadside assistance equipment never hurts. This 4-in-1 tool features a rechargeable power source, air compressor, emergency light and phone charger to get you on the road faster. Basically, according to one Sharper Image shopper who rated this five stars, "It's an all-in-one compact lifesaver."
If you're stranded and need immediate essentials, you'll want to have this backpack on hand. With over 3,600 verified five-star ratings, the kit contains two survival food bars and water pouches with a five-year shelf life, survival blankets, disposable dust masks, nitrile gloves, whistle, ponchos and tissues. It even has a first aid kit with all the basic needs. Also, you can register the backpack and receive a reminder to refresh your food and water supply.
According to a 2017 study from AAA, nearly 1/3 of new vehicles don't have a spare tire on hand during emergencies. For those inconvenient moments, this 4.7-star-rated portable kit offers the essential tools to fix it without removing it from the rim.
When you need to suddenly pull over on the highway, these flashing lights will do a sufficient job alerting other vehicles to steer clear. Each purchase comes with four lights, each featuring a hook and magnetic base that can be attached anywhere on your car. They also include nine different flashing modes to attract attention during emergency situations.
If you drive in a snowy area and encounter an emergency, this blanket can be a lifesaver. The extra-large throw not only provides ample coverage, it's also made with a lightweight, waterproof mylar thermal material that reflects body heat. It can be also stored in the accompanying nylon sack if you need to walk to another location to seek help.
For more stories like this, check out:
- Planning a road trip? Travel experts say you need to pack these 11 products
- Watch your step! 10 boots and shoes that will help you walk in snow and ice
- 15 useful accessories to keep your car clean and tidy