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With so many new high-tech gadgets coming out, it’s easy to become focused on how to increase the value of your car and over look smaller necessities like quality windshield wipers.

Emergency tools are often overlooked as well, but a little extra preparation can easily save your life. Even if you are one of the lucky few that are never in an emergency situation with your car, it’s nice to know that you have what you need in for one of those ‘what if’ situations.


There’s nothing worse than being stuck on the side of the road late at night with no light, especially if you don’t have a cell signal and you need to start walking. Buying a quality flashlight is as simple as hitting the store or checking online. Make sure you keep extra batteries, as they can become run down even if they’re unused. Alternatively, you can buy a flashlight that doesn’t require batteries.

First aid kit

Accidents are going to happen. Murphy’s law is more than just a cautionary tale. A simple kit can be purchased from almost anywhere, but the American Red Cross recommends that drivers keep a kit with the usual items such as bandages, antibiotic creams, and gauze pads. It also recommends a few more items such as a blanket, a breathing valve, tweezers, and a thermometer.

Jump starter

Jumper cables are great, and should absolutely be kept in your car at all times, but they require a second vehicle to jump you off. If you’re on your own and there’s no one there to connect to, those jumper cables are essentially useless. Car jump starter cables solve this by allowing you to jump your own car off without being dependent on someone else. 

Emergency radio

Cell phones are great, but it there’s no signal, you aren’t going to be calling for help. An emergency radio will allow you to contact civilization even when the rest of the technological world has let you down. A ham, or amateur, radio doesn’t have to be a costly investment. You can find them online in the $20 price range.

Cat litter

Seriously. It may sound like a joke, but this may very well get you out of a jam. Bad weather is going to happen, and it’s far too easy for your car to become stuck in snow, ice, or mud. When this happens, you may not be able to just call someone for immediate help. Cat litter will help absorb excess moisture, creating a slightly more dry surface for your tires to get traction. Just place the litter in the front and back of your wheels and you’ll likely be back on the road in no time.

Portable air compressor

Anyone who’s ever had a flat tire knows what a pain it can be. A portable air compressor may not replace a spare tire, but if your tire is merely low or can be patched, a portable air compressor will allow you to refill your tire until you can get it checked out by a professional. 

Window breaker/seat belt cutter

Some wrecks can damage the door to the point that it can’t be opened, or a seat belt may become jammed and can’t be removed easily. This is where an emergency multi-tool comes in handy. You can cut the seat belt and smash the window out with one handy tool. 


This is probably one of the most overlooked tools of all. A bottle of water will not only keep you hydrated should you become stranded for long periods of time, you can also use it to cool down your engine if it overheats

Many sites, such as, claim that plastic bottles left in a hot car can lead to chemicals leaking into the water. They further claim that this can may cause cancer. The American Cancer Society says this is not true. If you aren’t sure or don’t want to risk it, try keeping your water in a stainless steel bottle. Just change it out every few days and you’ll have fresh water in case your car ever breaks down.