We all end up stuck on the side of the road at some point in our lives. Whether you get a flat or experience car troubles, having the right tool for the right job can make all the difference. Many of us may keep an emergency kit with jumper cables in our trunk, but there are a few things you may not have thought of adding. Here’s a list of eight roadside emergency kit essentials your prepackaged kit may be missing:
1. Cellphone Charger/Spare Battery
A charger for your phone can make a world of difference when you have car trouble. If your vehicle’s charger doesn’t work when the car is off, you may want to consider a USB battery pack or a solar-powered charger to give your phone a little extra juice in an emergency.
Car makers think of everything — except how you’ll manage to see what you’re working on when you’re on the side of the road in the middle of the night. Keeping a small LED flashlight in your emergency kit is quite possibly the best thing you can do, regardless of what the issue at hand is.
3. First Aid Kit
A first aid kit is one of those no-brainer things that we always seem to overlook. You don’t need a full medical kit, but a simple pack of bandages, a tube of antibiotic cream and an instant ice pack are enough for most roadside injuries.
4. Fire Extinguisher
A small fire extinguisher is a great thing to have handy in the event of an emergency. Make sure it’s a class B- or C-rated extinguisher suited for flammable liquids and electrical fires.
5. Reflective Jacket
Many prepackaged roadside emergency kits come with small reflective triangles to warn other drivers that you’re on the side of the road, but investing in a reflective vest is also recommended. The added brightness and reflection can keep you safe when performing roadside repairs.
Whether you need to wipe up some excess coolant or use it as a makeshift glove for something that’s a little warm, a clean rag can lend itself to different tasks. It can even double as a bandage held on by some tape if need be.
7. Duct Tape
Regardless of the jokes we’ve all made about our dads’ repairs in the past, a small role of utility tape can come in handy when you’re on the side of the road. A little tape can help hold in a broken headlight or seal up a leaking hose until you can get to a mechanic.
A multifunction tool includes a knife, pliers and a few other simple hand tools that allow you to make minor repairs quickly and to get your vehicle to a place where you can steer it to a repair shop safely.
Safety is paramount to all else while making roadside repairs, and while many roadside emergency kits come with jumper cables, flares and other useful items, there are a few more roadside emergency kit essentials that will easily fit in the bag to patch things up and keep you moving.
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Erich Reichert has been an editor and on-air personality in the radio control car hobby for 12 years. A certified car nut since birth, he has written for internationally published titles such as RC Car Action, RC Driver and Xtreme RC Cars, as well as Stuff Magazine, Road and Track and Super Street. He's covered everything from product reviews and tech articles to high-profile lifestyle pieces and celebrity interviews. Erich found his passion for writing after a successful career as an art director, working with brands such as Pepsico, NASCAR, MTV, Nintendo, WWE, Cannondale Bicycles and HBO. He's also a father, an avid hockey fan and an FIA race license holder who enjoys hiking, playing drums and movies.