FEMA notes that only 39 percent of Americans have developed an emergency plan.1 While some may have built an emergency kit at home, there are important safety items you should keep in your vehicle.
Here are 12 things to keep in your car that might save your life:
1. The ResqHammer
2. Smittybilt Recovery Strap
3. Military Grade Poncho
4. First Aid Kit
5. ResQme Tool
6. T3 Auto Rescue Tool
7. Light and Fire
8. A Wad of Cash
9. A Map
10. Food and Water
12. Toilet Paper
We recommend tucking all of these items in a bag and stashing it in your back seat; the smallest items can even fit in your glove box! Why not the trunk? In a matter of seconds, can you reach the trunk from the inside of your car? Keep items close at hand to assure you can grab them when needed. These things can either save your life, or make the trauma and immediate aftermath of a major car accident a lot easier and safer.
Things To Keep In Your Car For Emergencies
What Is It: A small hammer-like object that breaks your windows and windshield.
There are numerous reasons you’d need to smash the windows in order to escape your car. A violent car accident could, for example,
- render your door useless;
- push you into a body of water;
- set your car on fire; or
- wedge your vehicle between objects.
When you gotta get out, you gotta get out FAST. That’s where this device comes in handy. It will smash through and obliterate your window in seconds, allowing you to escape your drowning, burning or wedged car with lightning speed. When every second counts, this is your go-to lifesaver.
What Is It: A hardcore tow strap that can help get your car, and you, out of a number of sticky situations.
If your vehicle has been pushed off the road — maybe it’s stuck in a ditch, sand, dirt, a shallow body of water or even snow — you’ll need help getting it back on track. We’re always an advocate of calling 911 for emergency assistance, but what if a four-wheel-drive vehicle comes by and offers a hand? You’ll be prepared!
What Is It: A waterproof, double-lined poncho blanket that traps heat and keeps cold out, invented by the U.S. military during the Vietnam war.
This. Blanket. Will. Save. Lives. You may be a soccer mom or suburban dad, but deep inside you’ll be G.I Jane or Rambo with this wicked amazing blanket/pillow/shelter/hammock/seat cushion/mattress. Still not getting the picture? It’s winter. Your car gets up close and personal with a deer and skids off the road into a tree. You don’t have a cell phone on you, and your kid is crying in the back. It could be hours before help comes, and it’s cold (no, really cold) out. Your Woobie (that’s what they call it) will keep you and your baby warm and comfortable till help comes.
What Is It: All your first aid essentials in one handy, portable kit.
Do you really need us to tell you why you need one of these things? Just get one. Stick it in the trunk. It’s the right thing to do.
What Is It: Breaks your windows and cuts your safety belt lickity-split.
A younger (but certainly not less powerful) brother to the ResQHammer, this tool can release you from being trapped by your seat belt and get you out of your car in seconds. You car is sinking, on fire, or maybe someone else in your vehicle is trapped? Use this bad boy to get them out safely while you wait for emergency services to come.
What Is It: If MacGyver was a tool for rescue and survival, he would be this. Nuff’ said.
Knife. Belt cutter. Window punch. Stainless steel blade. LED light. Men’s Health, Miliary.com, the Today Show, Police Magazine and Outdoor Life have all featured this versatile tool. Keep this in your glove box for any of a dozen reasons you don’t want to think about.
What Is It: A flashlight and set of matches.
You never know when you’re going to be trapped in the dark and need either of these.
We suggest a flashlight and extra set of batteries and a box of water-resistant matches.
What It Is: Money.
It’s not glamorous but it could come in really handy. We suggest having a few hundred dollars – broken down into both large and small bills- inside a waterproof baggie tucked somewhere really secret and safe inside your car. Not the glove box. Not under the seat. Somewhere a casual guest or valet guy won’t find it. But, if you should be trapped and stuck with no money on hand— you’ve got it as a backup.
What Is It: We know it’s been a hot second since you relied on anything other than your phone GPS, Siri or Waze for directions, but what happens if you get in a wreck, can walk fine but have no cell phone? Or cell service? Or your phone dies? Welcome to The Map. Helping guide lost people to safety for hundreds and thousands of years… or at least walking to the next town nearby for assistance.
What Is It: Beef jerky, hard candy and other nonperishables and water.
We’re not talking about snack food here for the sake of having the munchies. We’re talking about food that will keep you going if you’re stranded. Or something to help with your blood sugar if you’re diabetic or feeling faint. We suggest beef jerky, nutrient-rich granola bars, hard candy or dehydrated meals. Plus, keep a gallon or two of water on hand for drinking and sanitary needs.
What Is It: A hand-crank charger with a USB port or one of those “earthquake is coming-sized” portable phone chargers.
We file this under the What If Help Takes A Long Time To Come category. You never know when you’re on the side of the road what kind of communication access you will have. Sometimes, the difference between life and death can be the ability to notify emergency services or loved ones as fast as possible!
What Is It: The stuff you use in the bathroom.
Ok. While a roll of TP might not save your life, it may save your dignity. If you’re stuck on the road waiting for emergency services, have a nervous stomach in stressful situations or just find nature calling you at the wrong place and wrong time, this will hook you up.
A final item that just makes good sense to prepare for the unexpected is a full car accident checklist that can help take the guesswork out of a stressful situation and walk you through essential next steps.