Road Trip Safety
TRANSPORTATION | TRAVEL TIPS

Road Trip Safety: 15 Must-Have Items for an Emergency Road Kit

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“Be Prepared.”  Sure, it’s the Boy Scout motto, but it should be our  motto as well…especially when it comes to road trip safety.

I drive a LOT!  I commute to work 45 minutes each way.  I also drive everywhere else, whether I’m alone or with my boyfriend.

Since I travel alone about 90% of the time, safety is very important to me, especially since I frequently drive alone at night.

I put together a list of items that would be helpful to have on hand for road trip safety.  With this list, I put together my own road trip safety kit.

To ensure that you, too, are prepared in the event of a roadside emergency, I’m sharing my list with you.

If you already have some of the items, you can use them to build your own emergency road kit. Simply get a large zippered bag, plastic bag, or other type of container to store the items in your trunk.  Then add the items you already have and purchase the ones that you need.  

My Emergency Road Kit

In Mild Weather:

  1. A working flashlight .  There’s nothing worse than being stuck in the dark!  A good flashlight with a powerful 
    • Be sure to check to make sure the batteries still work before leaving for your trip.  Better yet, buy a rechargeable flashlight.
  2. Heavy duty jumper cables in case your battery dies.  I can’t tell you how many times these have come in handy – for my car or to help other people start theirs.  Don’t leave home without them!
  3. A phone charger that works without the car’s power so you can call a loved one, AAA or 911 for help if necessary:
    • USB chargers are small and inexpensive (around $10) – iPhones / Androids
    • Solar cell phone chargers are also available and inexpensive as well (around $25) – iPhones / Androids
  4. Safety triangles to keep you safe in case your car breaks down and you have to pull over to the side of the road.
  5. Light sticks so you don’t have to wear out your flashlight batteries in order to see in the dark.  Most of them work for 6 hours or more.
  6. An emergency hammer/seatbelt cutter combo tool in case you get trapped inside the car.  The hammer will enable you to break the window and the seatbelt cutter will help you get free from your seatbelt should it get jammed.
  7. A first aid kit in case of injury.
  8. A tow rope in case you need to be pulled out of a ditch.
  9. A can of Fix-a-Flat in case you get a slow leak or a flat.
  10. A tire inflator to pump air in your low/flat tire until you can safely change the tire or put on the spare.
  11. Water or other low-sugar beverages to keep you hydrated.  Sugary drinks don’t quench your thirst, so keep this in mind when choosing.  (Beverages in glass bottles are preferred.)
  12. Some snacks (granola bars, nuts, etc.) to keep your energy up if you’re stranded for any length of time.
  13. A warm blanket (or two) to keep you (and other passengers) warm while you wait for help.
  14. Hand, foot & body warmers.  These are inexpensive, compact, and keep for awhile.* If you’d prefer an all-inclusive emergency road kit, I recommend the First Secure 90 Piece Roadside Emergency Car, Truck and RV Kit with Safety Tools & Accessories Bag.
road trip safety
    A reflective safety triangle: a must in a road trip safety kit

In Winter Weather:

  1. An ice scraper (preferably one with a long handle and brush) so you can scrape your windows and get the snow off the roof and sides of your car.
  2. A shovel to help dig out your car.
  3. A bag of cat litter (the old fashioned kind, not the clumping kind). When poured under your tires in the snow, cat littler helps your car gain traction; its also handy in the mud. OR if you have an extra set of set of floor mats, you can use these for traction instead.* If you’d prefer an all-inclusive severe weather kit, I recommend the AAA 65-Piece Winter Severe Weather Travel Kit

If you’re worried about how much room these items will take up in your trunk, most emergency road kits come in compact zippered cases.  

If you make your own or add to one that comes in its own case, make sure you put the additional items in a compact case, small box, or plastic container. Most spare tire wheel wells have a little extra room that would be ideal for storing some items from your emergency road kit.

Other Road Trip Safety Tips

Aside from being prepared with emergency items, there are other precautions you can take to help you have a safe trip.

  • Before any long trip, be sure to check your vehicle’s:
    • Oil levels
    • Other fluid levels (transmission fluid, brake fluid, windshield washer fluid)
    • Tire pressure

*TIP: If you regularly go to Jiffy Lube for your oil changes, they will top off your fluids and check other items in between your regularly scheduled oil change for free.

  • Invest in a AAA membership.  There are several levels of membership, the middle level being under $100/year.  However, the cost is well worth it.
    • In case you’re wondering, I don’t get any kickbacks for recommending AAA. I’ve had it for years and it has come in handy when I’ve had a flat tire, got locked out of my car, ran out of gas, and needed my car towed.)

Well, I hope you gained some valuable information from this post.  Protect yourself by creating your own emergency roadside kit.  Your road trips should be memorable because they’re fun, not because your car broke do

Wishing you awesome (and safe) travels,

Amy, A Traveling Broad

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2 Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing this. Your tips are realistic and helpful. I am a travel freak and travel a lot, can relate to it. “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness…,” and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.

    People often have a theme that they base their worldly travels on, but how about a mental mantra for your travel? Out of a cheerleading event that consisted of our family shouting supportive words at our daughter who was attempting to kill a rather monstrous spider that the rest of us were too chicken to get close to, came this great quote, “If you don’t think, and you just do….then it’s done!”

    This quote came back to haunt me when on vacation in Seattle. I thought it would be a great idea to take the kids on the Seattle Great Wheel, the Ferris wheel overlooking the ocean, but as we approached it, I realized how high it went and immediately panicked! Just as I had decided to put the kids on it on their own, my daughter says, “Come on dad…If you don’t think, and you just do….then it’s done!” What could I do at that point?! She was telling me to stop thinking and creating more fear about the situation and just get on the thing!

    “If you don’t think, and you just do, then it’s done!” We all now keep this quote in our back pocket, ready to whip out at any time to push one of us forward into an adventure we know they won’t regret. No hesitations, don’t allow any time for fear to set in, and be prepared for your kids to turn your life advice back on you!

    1. Wow. Thank you for reading my blog. Really happy that you can relate to it and get value. I really appreciate you commenting and sharing such a personal story. I love that your family not only has a mantra but you take it with you and live it. Amazing!

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