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6 Items you should always keep in your car

Whitney Coy is a freelance writer and editor based in Columbus, OH, where she lives with her husband and two daughters. She writes frequently for SheKnows, as well as several other websites. She writes on topics including parenting, pets...

What you need
to be prepared

Do you have what you need in case of an emergency?

What you need  to be prepared

We all like to think the worst will never happen — and we certainly hope it never does — but it's good to be prepared, just in case. Keep these six items in your car at all times to ensure you're better prepared for an emergency.


Registration and insurance documents

"Registration and proof of insurance, please."

Believe it or not, you won't just hear that question if you get pulled over for speeding. You also need to provide these documents any time you're in an accident — whether or not you're at fault. The insurance card will also come in handy at other times if you have roadside assistance through your policy.


Jumper cables

You never know when your battery will die or where you'll be when it happens. It's usually not too difficult to find a good Samaritan who's willing to give you a jump, but it can be tricky to find someone with a pair of jumper cables in his or her trunk. Check your owner's manual and make sure you purchase the correct kind of cables for your car.



Yes, we know, there's an app for that. Still, if you're broken down on the side of the road, it's probably best to save your phone battery for actually making calls. Keep a flashlight in your car in case you get stuck in the dark, and keep an extra set of batteries for it in there, too.


Portable cellphone charger

That cellphone isn't going to do you much good if the battery dies, and that car charger won't work if your car won't start. A portable cellphone charger can juice up your phone without needing a power source of some kind, and that can be a lifesaver in an emergency situation.


First-aid kit

You don't need to carry an arsenal of medical equipment in your trunk, but it is a good idea to have a few things handy, just in case. Put together a kit with items like bandages, antibiotic cream, pain relievers and rubber gloves. It's also a good idea to carry a blanket to keep you and any passengers warm should you break down in the cold. In the event of a minor emergency, you'll be covered until help arrives.


Food and water

You don't want to pack a fancy dinner, but it's nice to have a hearty snack on hand in case you get stranded miles away from the nearest business. Throw a couple of bottles of water and some granola bars in your car and make sure to change them out for fresh ones every now and then.


If you live in a cold-weather area, carry cat litter in your trunk. Pour it under your tires when you need traction in the ice and snow.

More for your car

How to change a flat tire
Tips for driving in the rain
Tips for driving in the snow

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