Nobody likes thinking about emergencies (and we all hope we’re never in one) but a little planning can go a long way towards staying safe. We’ve rounded up 6 must have items that are inexpensive, useful, and easy to pack in your car.
Our selection of must-have items varies widely in application (first aid kits are quite different from road flares) but there’s one of two broad categories each of our selected items can fit into: items that help prevent accidents and items that help you once you’ve been in an accident. Let’s take a peek at our top picks.
Siivton 6-In-1 Auto Emergency Tool ($15)
This one tool has six useful functions, so whether you’re in an accident, you need to get someone’s attention, or you just dropped your phone between the seats, the Siivton 6-in-1 Auto Emergency Tool can lend a helping hand (or save your life).
Let’s start by looking at the most dramatic escape-from-a-burning-car tools on the device. First, there’s seat belt cutter so you can grab the Siivton and cut yourself free if your seat belt is jammed up—be sure to keep the tool tucked near the driver seat for just such an emergency. If damage to your car results in a jammed or malfunctioned window, don’t worry: the tool includes a carbide tip hammer point located on the opposite side of the seat belt cutter that will make short work of tempered glass.
On the same end as the hammer is a flashlight, so you can not only signal to people if you need help, but you can assess your surroundings or try to find something in the dark. The body of the handle also doubles as a red emergency light that flashes in an SOS pattern when activated. The tool even has a strong magnet so you can place it on the hood of your car while the SOS light is shining. Lastly, there’s a loud whistle in case you need to attract attention and the light isn’t enough. (Although, if you’re just looking for a reliable flashlight, feel free to check out this Anker Pocket-Sized Flashlight.)
The Siivon 6-in-1 tool is exactly the kind of budget purchase that, should the kind of emergency it was intended for arise, you’ll be very thankful to have it close at hand.
Siivton Car Safety Hammer, 6 in 1 Auto Emergency Escape Tool with Window Breaker, Seatbelt Cutter, LED Flashlight, Whistle & Alarm Lamp Life Saving Rescue Kit for Cars, All Vehicles
SlimK LED Road Flares ($26)
The Siivton emergency tool we just took a look at has a flashing light, but when it comes to highway safety, visibility is key. That’s why SlimK LED Road Flares are great: they’re bright, numerous, and perfect for illuminating your car in the darkness and warning oncoming motorists.
The kit includes 3 LED flares and a convenient carrying case, so whether you’re in an accident, doing traffic control, or using them as rescue beacons, the SlimK flares are ready and accessible. They can be placed on the ground around a vehicle, hung on the vehicle with an attached hook, or placed on the vehicle with the strong magnetic base.
Each flare is 4 inches in diameter and is shatter-, rain-, and crush-proof. There are also 9 different flashing modes, from SOS rescue lights to a flashlight, and the LEDs are bright enough they can be seen from a mile away at night. Lastly, the SlimK LED Road Flares can run up to 36 hours, helping you in any emergency situation that might arise.
SlimK LED Road Flares Safety Flashing Warning Light Roadside Flare Emergency Discs Beacon, Magnetic Base for Car Motorcycle Bicycle, 3 Pack
Hopkins 532 Snow Brush and Scraper ($9)
Getting the snow and ice off your car quickly, especially in a pinch, is essential in the winter time. Several states have laws about driving with snow on your car, but even if your state doesn’t, it’s just good sense to keep your car clear and sweep off any snow that might fly off and obscure the vision of other drivers. This Hopkins 532 Snow Brush and Scraper is convenient for those times you’re caught off guard by ice or snow—and even in the times you knew about that blizzard, it’ll quickly free up your vehicle from the perils of the cold.
Just use the brush to sweep off that excess snow; the sturdy scraper will help chip away ice without scratching your windows. The whole scraper has a length of 26″ which means you should be able to reach most (or even all) of your windshield without moving around to the other side. Even if you live somewhere that only gets intermittent snow and frost, for the price it’s worth tossing it in the trunk.
DBPOWER 600A Peak 18000mAh Portable Car Jump Starter ($73)
There’s nothing worse than being stuck with a dead battery (especially late at night), waiting for a tow truck or friend to come jump your car. Instead, jump start the car on your own with the DBPOWER Portable Car Jump Starter. It’s only 1.35 pounds, and is small enough to place in your glove box (right next to your Siivton 6-in-1 Tool). You can jump start a 12 V vehicle in seconds with the DBPOWER, whether it’s a car, truck, motorcycle, or RV.
This portable car jump starter comes with a USB outlet for charging other devices—such as a phone or tablet—in case your emergency isn’t a dead battery but a dead cellphone. It even has a smart outlet that automatically detects how fast to charge a device. Not only can it jump start a car and charge your phone, the DBPOWER has an LED flashlight that can be a normal light, an SOS light, a strobe light, or an emergency red light. You’ll always know the working status of the jump starter with it’s convenient LED screen. It even has a compass for the full Swiss-Army-knife vibe.
The DBPOWER Portable Car Jump Starter has clamps that are more durable than your standard jumper cables, and even has protection against short circuiting, overheating, reverse-polarity, and reverse-charging. Just the jump-start capabilities alone are worth the price, but with all the other charging features built in, it’s an easy sell.
DBPOWER 800A Peak 18000mAh Portable Car Jump Starter (up to 7.2L Gas/5.5L Diesel Engine) Portable Battery Booster with LCD Screen (Red)
AstroAI Digital Tire Pressure Gauge ($8)
A light appears on your dash that says your tire pressure is low. You’re pressed for time, but you want to make sure you don’t destroy your tires with the incorrect amount of air. The AstroAI Digital Tire Pressure Gauge will quickly and accurately tell you the tire pressure in cars, trucks, SUVs, motorcycles, and bikes. It’s small, lightweight, and convenient, especially since it can fit in a glovebox.
Use this digital tire pressure gauge at night or in dimly lit garages with ease thanks to the nozzle light. And don’t worry about losing air when reading the pressure—the nozzle forms a tight seal around valves, ensuring an accurate reading. The AstroAI also has an LCD display that allows you to view pressure in four ranges: PSI, BAR, KPA, and kg/cm^2. You don’t even have to guess your tire pressure like you used to with an analogue gauge; the AstroAI gives you an exact decimal reading. Using this gauge will reduce tire wear and tear by keeping you up to speed on your tire pressure. It’s also great in case you get a flat tire, and you want to check the pressure of your spare before trusting it to carry you to the repair shop.
AstroAI Digital Tire Pressure Gauge 150 PSI 4 Settings for Car Truck Bicycle with Backlight LCD and Non-Skid Grip Car Accessories, Silver (1 Pack)
Be Smart Get Prepared First Aid Kit ($22)
Last but certainly not least: it’s always helpful to keep a first aid kit in your car, even if you didn’t get the injury on the road. From scrape to splinter to blister to even a fever, the Be Smart Get Prepared First Aid Kit should be readily available in the case of an emergency. It’s conveniently packed in an 8 inch x 10 inch x 3 inch box, so that it can fit under a car seat or in a trunk (but still manages to fit in 250 assorted medical items).
The quick access and organization of the bandages, gauze, alcohol pads, antibiotic ointment, burn cream, asprin, finger splints, tweezers, and so much more is held in easy-to-find compartments. And the sturdy case is impact resistant—the perfect kit to keep in a car.