12 Things to Keep in Your Car in Case of an Emergency

It’s hard to prepare for the unknown, but having the right tools when you need it can be the difference between life and death on the road. If nothing else, it can make a bad situation a little better. When you get out of Las Vegas city limits, rest stops become few and far between. Don’t get stuck out on your own by keeping these things in your car.


  1. Jumper Cables: We’ve all been there and seen the poor fellow stuck in the parking lot with a dead battery. Maybe it’s been you a time or two. Save the day when you pull up and have jumper cables to charge up their battery to get them up and moving. Make sure that there isn’t too much rust on the cables and check the amount of corrosion on the battery before you hook them up.
  2. First Aid Kit: You never know what you’ll come across on the road. It’s a good idea to keep a few first aid supplies nearby for non-life threatening injuries. Things that you should keep are: Band-aids, an Ace bandage, painkillers, tweezers, alcohol wipes, small scissors, and gauze.  
  3. Blankets: Hopefully you don’t have to spend the night in your car, but you never know what could happen. Keep a blanket or two folded up in the back to pull out if you get stranded. The desert air drops to low temperatures at night no matter what time of year it is. Even if it’s a little space blanket, you’ll be glad you have something to keep warm with.
  4. Portable Air Compressor/Tire Pressure Gauge: Construction never seems to end, which means that nails and loose objects are constantly on the road waiting to puncture your tire. By keeping a portable air compressor in the car you can inflate a flat in no time, giving you enough time to make it to the shop.
  5. Spare Tire/Jack/Tire Iron: You ran over something, and it was big enough that the portable air compressor can’t keep air in the tire. Time to pull out the spare. You’ll need the jack and tire iron to lift the car up to switch out the flat tire and slip the donut on. Don’t drive long on this little tire. Get over to a tire center ASAP.
  6. Cell Phone Charger: Everything that we do nowadays is with our smartphones. If you need to give AAA a call, you’ll need a charged phone battery. Have either a USB cord that connects to the car, or a portable cell phone charger in the car at all times. That way you won’t have to sweat bullets worrying that your lifeline to help is out of juice.
  7. Bottle of Oil/Coolant: As cars age, little things start needing more attention. You may start to notice little drips in the parking lot after you move your car. It could be an oil or a coolant leak. To avoid getting stalled out from overheated engine, keep these 2 bottles on hand to top off the car whenever it starts to get low.  
  8. Knife/Multi Tool Set: Having a few crucial tools nearby car be the difference in life or death. If you’re trapped in a car, you’ll need a handy knife to quickly cut the seatbelt and a hammer or tool set to smash the window. Even if it’s not that dramatic, having a wrench and a screwdriver on hand is a good idea.
  9. Gas Can: These can take up space, but having a simple 1-2 gallon gas can will give you enough fuel to make it to safety.
  10. Maps: Yes, I’m talking about the paper maps. If you lose cell service, or your smartphone dies on you, having a traditional paper map will save the day. Keep one of these in the glove box and pull it out when you need it.
  11. Flashlight: Our phones have a flashlight mode, but you shouldn’t rely on your phone to provide enough light in an emergency situation. Have a back up flashlight with fresh batteries ready to go.
  12. Bottled Water/A Snack: The desert is a dangerous place to be without water. Make sure to have at least one fresh bottle of water in the car with you at all times. I would also suggest keeping something to snack on that won’t go bad quickly like granola bars or MRE’s.


Even if you don’t use them for yourself, you can be the hero who saves someone else who is stranded on the side of the road. Whether you’re the unlucky soul or are the Good Samaritan, you’ll be glad you planned for any unexpected emergency in the time of need.

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