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Emergency Preparedness: 10 Things to Keep in Your Car

Feb 17th, 2023

No one likes to think about being stranded on the side of the road, but the truth is it can happen to anyone. As winter sets in, the stakes get even higher. Cold weather can make even well-maintained cars function poorly, and between icy roads and poor visibility, even the best drivers can find themselves caught in a snowbank. Being stranded in freezing weather is more than just inconvenient; it can be downright dangerous. That’s why emergency preparedness is so important, not just in wintertime but at all times of the year. Here’s a checklist of 10 things you should keep in your car in an emergency.

Spare Tire

All cars should have a fully inflated spare tire and accompanying tools like a tire wrench and a jack. Check your spare tire periodically to ensure it’s in good shape and properly inflated.

Jumper Cables

A dead battery is one of the most common ways to be stranded; cold weather can make it even more likely. Jumper cables are an essential item to have in your trunk, just in case you need to ask someone for a jump-start.

First Aid Kit

A first-aid kit is essential for any emergency situation. Be sure to stock yours with bandages, gauze, tape, scissors, antiseptic wipes, and pain relievers.


A flashlight can be a lifesaver in any emergency, whether you need to signal for help or simply need to see what you’re doing. Be sure to keep a flashlight in your car, along with extra batteries.


A blanket can be used for warmth if you are stranded in cold weather or as a makeshift bed if you need to spend the night in your car. Be sure to pack extra blankets for any passengers who might need them.

Water and Non-Perishable Food

Whether in hot or cold weather, if you are stranded for an extended period, it’s important to stay hydrated and have food on hand. Try to store enough bottled water for you and any passengers to last at least a day, along with non-perishable snacks—preferably foods that provide a burst of energy like granola bars, unsalted nuts, dried fruits, etc.

Emergency Phone Charger

A cell phone is an essential tool in any emergency these days. Make sure your phone stays fully charged, and bring along an emergency battery charger so even if your car battery dies, you’ll be able to charge the phone for a while.

Reflective Triangles

Emergency reflective triangles placed around your stranded vehicle can help other drivers see you if you’re broken down on the side of the road–not only to avoid hitting you in the dark but also to let them know you need help.

Fire Extinguisher

Unless your car is all-electric, it has a combustible engine and fuel on board. That’s why a fire extinguisher is a must-have in case of an engine fire or other accident. Be sure to choose a small extinguisher that can be easily stored in your car.

Snow Supply Kit

If you get stuck in the snow or ice, having the right equipment may help you get unstuck without any other assistance. Your emergency preparedness “kit” should include a snow brush, scraper, small shovel, and a bag of sand or cat litter to give your tires extra traction.

This is why emergency preparedness is so important, whether a broken-down car in the middle of winter or a natural disaster. In extreme situations, having the right supplies in your car could save your life. That said, not every emergency is avoidable. If you suffer an auto injury where another driver is at fault, for example, you may not be able to avoid the pain and suffering, but you may be eligible for compensation to cover your losses after the fact. Our Colorado personal injury attorneys can help in situations like these. Call our offices to learn more.