How to Pack a Roadside Emergency Kit

The holidays are officially upon us, which means many of you will be traveling long and short distances to be with friends and loved ones this Thanksgiving. As we mentioned in our recent blog, Tips for Safer and Less Stressful Flights This Holiday, Thanksgiving is the busiest travel holiday for travel. While traveling by air is often a quicker option for getting to your destination, just in time to carve the turkey, many people will be traveling by vehicle instead.

Because the personal injury attorneys always have their clients’ best interests, health, and safety in mind, our legal team will share with you a guide for packing a roadside emergency kit to keep in your car during holiday travels. A roadside emergency kit can not only help you be a good, prepared driver, but it could also save your life or the life of another in the event that an unforeseen emergency occurs during your trip. If you should become injured while on the road, reach out to the personal injury lawyers at Napoli Shkolnik PLLC for a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your case.


How to Pack a Roadside Emergency Kit

First Things First: Plan Your Safety Kit

You can never be over-prepared for an emergency when traveling long or even short distances to visit loved ones for Thanksgiving. While you can always purchase a pre-made emergency kit for your vehicle, creating your own allows you to pack custom items that meet your specific needs should an emergency situation occur. Here are some considerations to keep in mind as you start gathering the supplies for your emergency kit:

  • How many people are traveling with me?
  • How long is our trip?
  • What time of day will we be traveling?
  • Have I recently had my vehicle serviced?
  • Am I bringing my pets?
  • What is the weather like at my current location and what is it like at my destination?
  • Do I need multiple safety kits to ensure I have everything we might need?

Asking these and other questions can help you tailor your emergency kit to meet your needs and the needs of other passengers, including pets.


What to Pack In Your Roadside Safety Kit

Now that you have determined who you are packing for, you can begin gathering items and packing them in the appropriate kit. Packing a few different kits according to function may make it easier to find the item you need in a pinch. Keep in mind the amount of space you will have to work with and pack your kits accordingly. You can use medium-sized Tupperware storage, shoeboxes, or even small duffle bags or reusable grocery bags. We recommend organizing and labeling your roadside emergency kits as follows:

  • Automotive Supplies
  • Weather Supplies
  • First Aid Kit
  • Additional kits may include:
    • Kid Supplies
    • Pet Supplies


Pack Your Safety Kits

Now that you are ready to organize your emergency kit, you can start building them.


Automotive Supplies

  • Jumper cables – to give your car or someone else’s a jump if the battery dies.
  • Road flares or reflective triangles – signal a roadside emergency, make you visible to other drivers on the road, and help first-responders locate you quicker.
  • Oil – to top off your engine oil if you’re running low.
  • Antifreeze – to replenish your engine and keep it from overheating.
  • Gas can – in case you run out of gas and have to walk to a gas station. Purchasing these ahead of time can save you an added expense on costly gas station gas cans.
  • Multipurpose tool – to help with roadside repairs.
  • Flashlight and/or headlamp – to make it easier to see what you’re doing at night.
  • Extra batteries – so you have backups if you need them for your flashlight.
  • Tarp – for protection should your car windows become damaged.
  • Duct tape and/or electrical tape – to make temporary patches or repairs to vehicle components.
  • Spare tire, wheel wrench, and jack – should you get a flat tire in the middle of nowhere.
  • Flat tire repair – such as a Fix A Flat inflator for a quick repair on a slow leak or minor tire damage.
  • Fire extinguisher – to put out fires and prevent them from spreading.


Inclement Weather Supplies

  • Bottled water – to stay hydrated.
  • Extra wiper fluid – so you don’t run out.
  • Ice scraper – to clear ice and snow buildup from your car windows.
  • Shovel – to dig out in case your tires become trapped in mud or snow.
  • Bag of sand or kitty litter – to assist with tire traction.
  • Hand/foot warmers – to keep your extremities protected against the cold if you have to walk to get help or become stranded.
  • Extra gloves – to keep your hands warm and functioning.
  • Hats – to protect your head and ears from the cold or to provide shade from the sun.
  • Rain ponchos – to keep you dry if you have to walk for help or perform emergency roadside repairs to your vehicle in the rain.
  • Blankets – to cover an injured person or provide warmth if you become stranded without power.
  • Non-perishable snacks – that will provide nourishment in case of becoming stranded in a snow or rainstorm.
  • Sunscreen and bug spray – to protect your skin should you get stuck or have to walk in the scorching sun. Bug spray is great to have on hand when traveling to warmer, humid climates where bugs are rampant in the fall and winter.


First Aid Kit

  • Hand sanitizer – to clean hands before patching up an injury.
  • Pair of nonlatex gloves – for sanitary measures when cleaning wounds.
  • Bandages and adhesive band-aids – to wrap and protect wounds of all sizes.
  • Absorbent compresses – to clean and care for wounds.
  • Sterile gauze – to absorb fluids and dress wounds.
  • Cloth tape – to keep compresses and bandages in place.
  • Antiseptic wipes – to clean a wound before dressing it.
  • Antibiotic ointment – to soothe wounds.
  • Hydrocortisone – to provide topical relief for itch and bug bites.
  • Pain relievers – like Aspirin to provide temporary pain relief or headache relief.
  • Kid-friendly medicine – for fevers, toothaches, tummy aches, etc.
  • Antihistamines – for allergic reactions.
  • Small Ziploc plastic bags – to store unused items.
  • Eye drops – to reduce irritation in eyes.
  • Saline solution – that can be used to clean a wound, help remove contact lenses, or hydrate the eyes.
  • Instant cold compress – to reduce swelling and inflammation.
  • Scissors and tweezers – to cut materials and remove small objects such as splinters or glass that become lodged in the skin.
  • Oral thermometer – to check a person’s temperature.
  • Prescriptions – back-ups of prescription medications for specific health conditions such as inhalers and eye drops.
  • Toilet paper roll and tissues – just in case.
  • Feminine products – for those unexpected moments.


Kid Supplies

  • Baby wipes
  • Extra bottles
  • Extra diapers


Pet Supplies

  • Food and water bowls
  • Food and treats
  • Extra leash and collar
  • Poop bags
  • Comfort items like chew toys and blankets


Additional Roadside Safety Tips to Consider

  • Keep a map/atlas handy – Even though most people rely on Google Maps to get them from point A to point B, it’s a good idea to carry an old-fashioned map or atlas in your car in the event that you don’t have cell phone service and become lost.
  • Bring cell phone chargers – Fully charge your phones before heading out and make sure you bring a phone charger in the form of a standard car charger, USB charger, or even a solar charger.
  • Wipe down the interior glass – Wiping the interior surfaces of your auto glass can remove smudges, streaks, and spots that could become driving distractions or impair your line of sight.
  • Replace wiper blades – Be sure to replace your wiper blades, especially when they haven’t been changed in months or show signs of wear and tear.
  • Check headlights and brake lights – Check that your headlights, brake lights, and signal lights all function properly and replace any burnt out bulbs before leaving on your trip.
  • Get an oil change – Getting your oil changed can ensure your vehicle is ready to run in tip-top shape. Plus, this is a good way to find out if there are any unseen issues you aren’t aware of before hitting the road.
  • Repair or replace damaged windshields – Having your damaged windshields either repaired or replaced can help maintain the structural integrity of your vehicle during severe weather or in an auto collision.
  • Create a road trip playlist –  Creating a road trip playlist ahead of your travels will keep you focused on the road, rather than fidgeting with the stereo or your cell phone to pick music. Don’t be a distracted driver!
  • Set automatic text responses – Set your phone to the automatic text response feature that will alert those texting you that you are driving and will get back when you pull over. This can help you be a safer driver.
  • Pull over when drowsy – Don’t feel like you have to power through a nighttime drive to get arrive at your destination on time. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drowsy drivers and falling asleep at the wheel account for more than 70,000 police-reported crashes each year.
  • Check/top-off all fluids – It’s always a good idea to check your fluid levels before hitting the road for Thanksgiving. Make sure to check:
    • Brake fluid
    • Oil
    • Antifreeze
    • Wiper fluid
    • Transmission fluid
    • Air in tires


Tell Us How We Can Help

The personal injury attorneys at Napoli Shkolnik PLLC want you to be safe on the road year-round, but especially during the holiday travel season when the risk for auto accidents is increased due to a number of factors. In the unfortunate event that you or a loved one become injured in an auto collision during your Thanksgiving road trip to see family and friends, reach out to our personal injury lawyers. We can help you with your case so you get the fair compensation you are owed.

From all of us at the law firm of Napoli Shkolnik PLLC, we wish you safe travels and a Happy Thanksgiving.