No matter what kind of car you’re driving, you should have an emergency roadside kit. It’s a simple and easy way to stay safe and gives you some peace of mind while you’re on the road. But the most important part of a car emergency kit is what you carry inside it. The type of items you need will depend on where you live, where you’re planning on driving and the time of year.
To find out how to build the best emergency roadside kit, we spoke to AAA’s Car Doctor John Paul.
“Some simple, basic hand tools are always a good idea,” John Paul said. The hand tools aren’t for repairing your car, they’re just to tide you over until you can get roadside assistance. When you’re assembling your tools, you can stick to the basics. “Even if it’s something as simple as one of those multitools that kind of look like a pocket knife. One of those is handy to have.”
One of the best things about a multitool is that it takes up very little space. For example, the RoverTac Multitool functions as twelve tools in one. It includes long nose pliers, regular pliers, a wire cutter, three sizes of flathead screwdrivers, a Phillips head screwdriver, a knife, a small saw, a fish hook remover, an awl, a nail file, a bottle opener and a can opener. It’s the type of durable, versatile tool that can be a great addition to your car emergency kit.
It’s also important to have a flashlight so that you can see what you’re doing if you wind up on the side of the road in the dark. The compact design and five different lighting modes of the GearLight High-Powered LED Flashlight S2000 make it an ideal addition to your roadside emergency kit. In an added bonus, it’s durable and water-resistant.
When you’re working on your car, it’s important to stay safe. You can protect your hands by using protective gloves like Ironclad General Utility Work Gloves. These gloves protect sensitive areas of your hands while also allowing you the dexterity and freedom of movement you need.
The best roadside emergency kits include bright and reflective objects. “Get some sort of retro-reflective vest, or something you can wear if you are changing a tire by the side of the road,” said John Paul. “A reflective triangle or flares – something again to make your car stand out.”
A safety vest can make sure other motorists spot you even in a low-visibility area, especially at night. The Neiko 53941A High Visibility Safety Vest is fluorescent yellow and covered in reflective strips for maximum visibility.
HOKENA LED Road Flares are battery-powered LED lights that can help your car be seen even in the dark. Easier to use than traditional flares, these beacons can be magnetically attached to your car or placed around it on the ground. These flares can be seen by cars that are up to a mile away.
Some of you might want to have more high-tech tools with you in your emergency roadside kit. “I have a bag I keep in my car,” Paul said. “In it is a few basic hand tools and a portable air compressor. I also used to carry jumper cables with me, now instead of jumper cables I carry a portable jump pack. They’re the size of a tissue box, and they’re all charged up. That way if you’re alone somewhere, and you can’t call AAA for some reason, you can jumpstart your own car.”
Tire looking a little flat? The portable AstroAI Air Compressor Tire Inflator can help with that. This tire pump acts fast and provides a digital pressure gauge so that you can fill your tire as accurately as possible. Its compact design makes sure that it fits easily in any car.
Need a jump? If there are no other cars around, and if you don’t have cellphone service, it can be difficult to find one. With the Audew Car Jump Starter, you can jump your own car. This powerful and compact jump starter can start almost any vehicle, including cars, motorcycles and even trucks.
AAA Emergency Roadside Kits
If you don’t want to build your own, there are preassembled kits available to you. Check out one of these AAA emergency roadside kits for ready-made peace of mind.
This jam-packed 76-piece kit includes an air compressor, a first aid kit, jumper cables, a flashlight, protective gloves, a rain poncho, pliers, screwdrivers, duct tape and more.
Remember, the best roadside emergency kits should take into account the weather conditions you’re driving in. In winter, you should also include a blanket, a shovel, an extra pair of gloves and an ice scraper. It also helps to pack some shelf-stable snacks, potable water and important medicines.
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What would you put in the best roadside emergency kit? Let us know in the comments below!