When an emergency happens, being prepared is a great achievement. It is one less worry on your mind, and one less step in getting on the road. Before you complete an emergency car kit, make sure these 10 items are included.
1. Cell Phone Signal Booster
A Vehicle cell phone booster is one of those things that slips the mind of many individuals with new smartphones. Despite the advancements in smartphone technology on a hardware level, the actual service moves at a much slower pace. The same complaints about dead zones from the 90’s is still a thing in the modern era. Faster wireless speeds are not the same as coverage, and it gets even more confusing when you look at coverage maps for different service providers. With a cell phone signal booster, your smartphone will be much more reliable in emergency situations.
The biggest mistake made when preparing an emergency car kit is depending on a flashlight from a cell phone. In fact, when the flashlight is not the main utility of a device, then you are using a subpar version of a flashlight. Light from your watch, phone, keychain or any other device is not a good replacement for a sturdy emergency flashlight. Like many emergency tools, a jack of all trade’s device will be a master of none. When you need actual light in an emergency, durability, reliability and performance are the three core values.
Get a small case with a set of rechargeable batteries for every known type. Yes, that includes the infamous D and 9-volt batteries that are rarely used. In an emergency, this rechargeable battery case is more useful than you think. Not all devices run off of a built-in battery, and it saves you from buying the absurdly expensive batteries sold at gas stations. This small little case is one of those emergency ideas that seems useless – right up until the day you magically need it. When purchasing, make sure to get one that is small enough to take up as little space in your vehicle as possible.
Including this in an emergency kit is vital when you are traveling to places outside of the city limits. Imagine going to Iceland, renting a car and driving on the unknown roads. If you get stranded in the middle of nowhere, the first thing to try is a cell phone signal. If that fails, then what is the next course of action? At this point, many people panic since they never think past the cell phone signal. Flares are an old emergency kit addition, but very reliable when you are in the middle of nowhere. Since you have no idea when another kind stranger will pass your vehicle, make sure to keep one or two flares at the ready.
5. Jumper Cables
Despite their popularity, most cars have not included jumper cables as part of the standard package. This may come as a surprise to many, especially in an emergency situation where a jump is sorely needed. But there are some important things to note with the usage of jumper cables that may change the usefulness for every individual.
If you have a modern car, get a portable jump starter box.
This will jump start your car without the need for another car, or for extra cables. A jump starter box is automatic, can power multiple things and can even function as an emergency light for passersby.
If you have an older car, you already have jump starter cables
A funny (and repeating) story with some vehicle owners is their purchase of a temporary tire after getting a flat. Older cars did a good job at including a complete tire changing tool kit underneath seats, hidden in the trunk, or in many other places. Look carefully before panicking – chances are the spare wheel was attached to the car the entire time! In that same area you’ll likely find jumper cables, a jack and a tire wrench.
6. Portable Power Bank
Power banks can power your laptop, a cell phone and a hot spot all at the same time. Despite the incredible amount of power, they are smaller than expected. A good quality power bank can fit in your pocket, will have multiple outlets and can hold a charge for months. The really good ones will have USB-C, an LED indicator and quick charging functions. But the most important feature is still going to be holding a charge without needing to be babysat. The last thing you want in an emergency is to find out your portable power bank has slowly drained to nothing when you need it the most.
The type of tools to keep in your car creates some of the most passionate arguments in the world. While all points are valid, for an emergency, keeping it simple is all that is needed. You don’t need to be MacGyver in an emergency, but you should have quality tools all around. That means no multitools (if possible) and a nice case to store everything in. Just like everything else in the kit, your tools should have only a small footprint in the vehicle.
8. Emergency Survival Blanket
You don’t need to be an avid hiker to need an emergency survival blanket. They are cheap, easy to store, and can keep multiple people warm. Over 150,000 auto crashes occur per year in icy conditions. When you’re stranded, an emergency survival blanket will a big deal until help arrives.
9. First Aid Kit with Water
Not just a first aid kit, but an updated first aid kit. Many vehicles have first aid kits that haven’t been updated in over a decade. Take a look at your current kit and bring it up to modern standards. And for those that don’t have a first aid kit, they are cheap and always purchasable from multiple locations.
10. Gas Canister
You can technically buy a canister from the gas station when you run out of fuel. It will cost you an arm and a leg, but anything beats being stranded. But what happens when the station is out of gas canisters? Having a gas canister in your car gets rid of the possibility of leaving your car stranded for no reason. Go and fill up the canister, then walk back to your car instead of having to push it for multiple miles.
You’re taking a big risk every time you get behind the wheel without an emergency car kit. This small thing can save your time, car, and in some cases several lives. Stay prepared, and every road emergency will seem like a small inconvenience.