ASK THE EXPERTS
We asked several associates of The Cincinnati Insurance Company to share their ideas for the best items to place in a vehicle’s emergency kit.
Here are their suggestions:
Associate Superintendent – Property Claims
For someone like me who is not mechanically inclined, I recommend sticking to basic items centered on health and safety. If you do have mechanical skills, consider packing tools necessary for simple car repairs.
The first and most important item is a first aid kit to address any injury or condition that requires immediate attention. I also recommend putting a blanket, gloves and sock cap in your vehicle to help you stay warm for an extended period.
The final item from a health perspective: Water, important in all seasons.
For safety, I recommend a flashlight with extra batteries or even better at least two 12‑hour light sticks, a reflective safety vest, tow rope and jumper cables.
Depending on the emergency – toilet paper is extremely helpful (no explanation needed!)
Loss Control Transportation Specialist
- A flashlight, preferably with flash capability, and batteries
- Chemical warming packets for cold climates
- Blanket or jacket for cold climates
- Emergency markers (orange triangles)
- Can of “inflate a tire”
- Cell phone
Casualty Litigation Associate
Some companies and organizations sell pre-assembled roadside emergency kits that come in convenient, portable storage containers. However, I recommend avoiding kits that contain too many auto repair tools. These were helpful when cars were easy to repair. Today, cars are more complex, and the factory usually equips them with the tools necessary to change a flat tire, such as the jack and a lug nut wrench.
- Jumper cables
- Roadside flares and triangle reflectors
- Tire inflator and pressure gauge
- Portable battery pack for charging cell phone
- Windshield ice scraper
- Nonperishable snacks such as granola and energy bars
- A blanket
- Rain poncho, boots, work gloves, extra pair of clean clothes, particularly underwear and socks
- Pocket knife
- A roll of paper towels and/or clean hand towel
- Portable fire extinguisher
- Rock salt, sand or cat litter for tire traction (when car is stuck in snow)
- Small shovel
You can use a cardboard box or small plastic container to store the items, to keep them from rolling around in your trunk and find them quickly in an emergency.
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What do YOU keep in your roadside emergency kit? Please provide your answer in the comments. (See our Guidelines before posting.)