How to Prepare a Roadside Emergency Kit

Posted on 10th Jan, 2019 by Bonnie

Whether you’re cruising the open highway on the trip of a lifetime or heading to the in-laws’ place for the weekend, planning ahead can make all the difference. From lighter traffic to fair weather, a few adjustments can put you in the fast lane to a more pleasant experience. But in times of emergency or extreme conditions, checking your phone might not be an option. Having a roadside emergency kit in your car can help you when you need it most.


What is a Roadside Emergency Kit?

Also called a car emergency kit or a roadside car kit, a roadside emergency kit is a collection of supplies to aid you if your car becomes immobile. Even though help may be on the way, you could be waiting a while for assistance in inclement weather. Having the right items with you can help get you on the road quicker. Tools, a flashlight, extra clothing, a first aid kit and jumper cables are all essentials in a basic roadside kit.


Help Your Future Self

It’s important to note that there’s not a one-size-fits all kit, so be sure to address your household’s and car’s specific needs by including the appropriate gear. And even though you may already have a roadside emergency kit, you might need to double check that it’s ready and matches the appropriate season. In fact, the National Safety Council recommends checking your car emergency kit every six months1. Read on for tips to prep your own roadside car kit.


Step 1:  Gather the Inventory


Consider the following items for your kit. Remember to include anything else specific to your needs; you can omit items that don’t apply to your situation.



Step 2:  Add Any Special Items


Take some time to review your kit and add any missing items. For example, are there emergency medications to last a couple days or comfort items to soothe small children? Will you have enough batteries or a way to contact emergency services if disaster strikes? Make any adjustments or additions here.


Step 3:  Pack the Kit


DMV.ORG recommends using a transparent plastic bin or container with a lid neatly packed in a single layer2. Also, an itemized list secured to the lid can help you stay organized and ensure that everything is accounted for in the kit.


Step 4:  Designate a Spot


Choose a place in your vehicle to always store the kit. Ensure that your kit can be accessed from inside and outside the car, such as in the rear section commonly found in SUVs or in the back seat. Make all passengers and drivers aware of the kit’s location as they enter your vehicle.


Step 5:  Update and Refresh as Necessary


If you have anything that needs to be replaced from time to time like perishable items, food or medication, it’s a good idea to set up a calendar reminder every six months to update these items as needed.


Step 6:  Keep Your Cool


Try to keep a level head during any emergency. Being prepared is a great way to ease anxiety in high-pressure situations, so make sure your new roadside emergency kit is readily accessible and properly stocked for any trips in the car. A ride in the car can feel like freedom. Keep your peace of mind with a roadside car emergency kit.




1National Safety Council. (2018). Safety at Home. Retrieved December 21, 2018, from

2Department of Motor Vehicles. How to Pack an Emergency Kit. (n.d.). Retrieved January 2, 2019, from



The information in this article is provided for education and informational purposes only, without any express or implied warranty of any kind, including warranties of accuracy, completeness or fitness for any particular purpose. The information in this article is not intended to be and does not constitute financial or any other advice. The information in this article is general in nature and is not specific to you the user or anyone else.

About Bonnie

Bonnie is a Chicago transplant who's committed to seeing the world on a dime. As an avid news junkie with an affinity for finance, she loves to help others do more with less.