The roadside emergency kit every car should have

Statistics Canada tells us that 59% of Canadians have a roadside emergency kit in their vehicle. As a nation, that may seem like a small number, but most of us do understand that car safety is important. It’s important for our car insurance policies, too.

If you are one of the 41% of Canucks who are without a roadside emergency kit in your vehicle, or if you picked up the “In Case Of Deluxe Emergency Vehicle Kit” at Costco and want to see how it stands up against a DIY kit for car safety, then this is the place for you.

1. Spare water bottle

Popular Mechanics suggests keeping a 16-case of boxed drinking water in your car, as it takes up less space and adds less weight than bottles, as well as having a long shelf life of up to 5 years.

2. Long-lasting food

A box of protein or granola bars will provide sustenance for you and your passengers as you await help or will remove hunger as an irritant as you plan how to deal with an emergency situation.

The brain works on a full stomach, and that’s important in putting the rest of your roadside emergency kit to use.

3. Handheld light

Warning lights, flares, and a reflective hazard triangle can all be useful in different situations, such as when you are pulled over to the roadside because of impenetrable fog and want other drivers to know you are there.

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4. Portable battery charger

73% of Canadians have smartphones, which are invaluable in a car emergency. For vehicle safety, you should have a charger that plugs into your car, and if you regularly drive in remote areas, a solar charger is recommended.

5. First-aid kit

The Canadian Red Cross has published a list of the things that should be in your first-aid kit, at home, and in your car. You can read it here.

6. Extra clothes

If you have ever had to change a tire on a remote road in the rain, you will understand the wisdom of keeping an extra change of clothes in your roadside emergency kit.

7. Portable DC-powered air compressor

A portable DC-powered air compressor will pump up your tires so that you can drive to a garage where they can come up with a permanent fix.

8. Booster cables

Booster cables are a must in Canadaonly Antarctica, Russia, and Greenland have colder winters than we do. And if you often drive on remote roads, think about investing in a portable battery booster.

Read about how to boost a dead car battery here if you need help in a hurry.

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9. Pen, pencil, and notepad

You can write down any information you are given from a 9-1-1 call or from your roadside assistance provider, including names of people you are speaking to, and additional phone numbers you are given.

Don’t just rely on your phone to take notes, either. Their batteries can die at the worst possible time! Keep a low-tech notepad handy, just in case.

10. Small tarp

Lying down on the ground to have a look at your vehicle is much easier when you have a small tarp to cover up mud, rocks, and wet grass.

Take it from us on this one. You’ll thank yourself later for making this a part of your roadside emergency kit.

11. Flashlight

A powerful flashlight along with extra batteries can shed some light on a roadside emergency, and a nifty headlamp can free up your hands if you need to move some branches, or have a look under the hood.

12. Gloves, hand cleaner, and some rags

It does not take long to get dirty when trying to move a car from a muddy spot, changing a tire, or even boosting a battery. Gloves will also help protect your hands while performing any emergency repairs.

13. Old-school map

Many of us have GPS systems in our cars, but if all power should vanish, an old-school foldout map can help you to identify your location and the nearest place of refuge.

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14. Kitty litter

It may sound odd, but it could offer significant help during an emergency. When your tires are spinning on ice, kitty litter just might provide you with enough traction to set you free.

15. Folding shovel

Almost every Canadian motorist finds his or herself in a roadside emergency that they have to dig themselves out of, eventually.

16. Roadside assistance number

Keep the information about your roadside assistance company, including their phone number, in an easy-to-access place like your glove compartment, with your car manual.

17. Tire gauge, jack, lug wrench

Even if you cannot change a tire, a Good Samaritan will need these tools to fix a simple flat. Many modern cars have these simple tools built-in, but it’s always a good idea to make sure you have them just in case.

That’s our emergency roadside kit list! Vehicle safety begins with preparation and continues with practicing a safe trip.

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