Stock up on emergency supplies in case you break down

A well-equipped roadside emergency kit may help drivers get their vehicles back on the road on their own.
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Unforeseen situations can crop up at any time. Anyone who has had a roadside breakdown in their car understands this. A flat tire or an engine malfunction is something no driver wants to experience, but those with a well-stocked vehicle emergency kit and breakdown strategy can get through most situations rather easily.

A 2017 survey from AAA found that 40% of drivers in the United States are not ready to handle a typical roadside emergency breakdown. The organization estimates it helps some seven million motorists get back on the road each summer. A well-equipped roadside emergency kit may help drivers get their vehicles back on the road on their own. 

First aid kit

The first aid kit will celebrate its 133rd birthday in 2021. The Johnson & Johnson company began commercializing first aid kits in 1888. Having a first aid kit in the car to treat minor injuries can be helpful in the event of an accident or even after injuring oneself during a breakdown.

Fire extinguisher

Cars are full of various mechanical parts and are susceptible to catching on fire. The National Fire Protection Association says vehicle fire extinguishers need to be rated for Class B and C fires.

Jumper cables

A weak or dead battery is often the culprit in breakdowns. Jumper cables enable drivers to get a charge from another motorist, and may help get a person back on the road quickly. If possible, get a set of cables that also comes with safety gloves and heavy duty clamps, offers Defensive Driving Online, a defensive driving course.

Mobile phone/charger

A mobile phone is essential for calling for assistance, but the phone is only useful if it’s charged. 


Keep a blanket in the trunk or another storage area. Should the vehicle die in cold weather, that blanket can help keep passengers warm until assistance arrives.

Basic tools

Tools like a screwdriver, ratchet set and wrench may enable drivers to complete minor repairs. Tools also should include tire-changing gear, such as a jack and lug nut remover.

Traction aid

Non-clumping kitty litter or sand can provide the traction needed to get off of a slippery area of roadway.


A flashlight can help keep you visible and able to see your surroundings in dark conditions.


Should a breakdown occur in the dark, flares can alert other drivers.

Snacks and water

Water and food that stores well, such as emergency rations, granola bars or trail mix, can quell hunger pangs and provide an energy boost while waiting for help.

Rope/bungee cords/tarp

These items can be used in various situations to secure a vehicle.

While drivers can gather these items separately, many companies offer all-in-one vehicle emergency kits. A safety kit is essential for all drivers. (MC) 

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