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Ten Things You Should Keep in Your Car in Case of an Emergency

Guest Contributor January 22, 2024
A man with a silver car that broke down on the side of the road. He put up a red warning triangle and is waiting for the technician to arrive.

Do you have what you need if your car breaks down? What if you’re stranded somewhere for several hours? Check out this list of things you should have in your car then hope that you never need to use them!

  1. Extra batteries and cables for your cellphone.

    This can make the difference between getting help quickly and waiting in your car for someone to stop and help you. Whether your phone has a replaceable battery or not, you can buy portable battery packs that will allow you to get a few more charges out of your phone, just make sure to periodically recharge the battery packs themselves.
    As a bonus, having a lot of phone power in reserve also means that you can dispense with carrying a traditional flashlight and simply use your smartphone’s LED flashlight.

    Note: Even if you don’t subscribe to a cell phone service, keep an old phone in your glovebox, all phones can be used to call 911 in an emergency. Just keep it powered off and check its battery level from time to time.


  2. Jumper cables.

    Car batteries can go dead without warning. We recommend keeping jumper cables in the car. However, if you are unsure how to safely boost your vehicle, CAA is here to help.

    Note: Stay ahead of your car battery’s function by having it tested. CAA's Mobile Battery Service¹ will test and if needed, can replace your old car battery from your home, workplace or even from the side of the road. Delivery and installation are included at no additional cost AND CAA Members save $25 on the purchase of a new CAA Premium Battery!


  3. Bottled water.

    You never know how long you’ll be stuck depending on what the emergency is and where you are, so having water to keep you hydrated is essential – especially if it’s summertime!


  4. First-aid kit.

    It should ideally include band-aids, adhesive tape, gauze pads, aspirin, antiseptic wipes and an antiseptic cream or ointment.

Image of technician working on a car in a shop.
  1. Fire extinguisher

    Although your vehicle is designed with safety in mind, many of its components are potential fire hazards. If you suddenly have to deal with a vehicle fire, having a fire extinguisher on hand will help you stay safe and minimize vehicle damage.

    Note: The fire extinguisher should be safely and securely mounted in your vehicle.


  2. Reflective warning triangles.

    Get a pack of at least three triangles. If you break down and need to stop on the shoulder of the road, place the first warning triangle about 20 metres behind your vehicle, and each subsequent triangle another 10 to 15 metres behind, to give oncoming traffic enough of an advance warning. For extra security, get a kit that includes a bright reflective safety vest that you can wear while placing the triangles on the road.


  3. An emergency escape tool.

    This widely available tool is usually shaped like a small hammer and it includes a sharp blade that can be used to cut a seat belt in case of a severe collision. You can then use the hammer to smash a window and free yourself from the vehicle. This is one of those things you don’t know you’ll need, until you do.


  4. Tire gauge.

    If your car comes with a spare wheel and tire, use this tire gauge to periodically check its air pressure. The last thing you want when you have a flat, is to find out that your spare is also flat!


  5. Snacks.

    Non-perishable snacks like protein bars can be a lifesaver if you somehow get stuck in a remote area for an extended period of time.


  6. Your CAA Membership.

    The best thing you can have with you while on the road is your CAA Membership. Whether you’re the driver or passenger of your own car, a friend’s car or even a rental, you’re covered 24/7, 365 days a year. You can give us a call at *222 for roadside assistance2. We offer towing, battery service, flat tire, emergency gas, lockout service and more.

    Not a CAA Member? Join today and take advantage of these automotive perks and more.


    Join Today

Have questions?

The CAA Auto Advice team provides Members with free automotive advice. If you have questions about car care, buying a new or used vehicle, auto repairs, vehicle inspection, driving costs and more, contact us by phone at: 1-866-464-6448 or email: autoadvice@caasco.ca