As anyone who's been stuck with a flat tire on the morning they overslept, or ran to the bus stop just as the bus was pulling away, you realize that there is such a thing as Murphy's Law. There must exist in the universe some kind of immutable law that says not only that if something can go wrong it probably will, but it'll also happen at the worst possible time in the least convenient location. I'm willing to bet you've never run out of gas in front of a gas station. Or had a flat tire on a dry, warm day. And that's when you realize you may not be as prepared as you thought you were for a car mishap or emergency. But that, luckily, is easier to change than your flat tire...

Let's talk about what you need to be prepared and what you should have in your car emergency kit. Every car owner should have a stash of supplies for an emergency somewhere in their car. While there are ones that are available to buy (they can cost anywhere from $25 to $100) sometimes it's easier to put one together yourself so that you can choose exactly what you need. Here are some of the essentials I recommend for you car emergency kit:



  • A first aid kit - band-aids, antibiotic ointment and tweezers are a few things to have handy. You can easily pick up a premade first aid kit at your local drugstore.


  • A reflective warning triangle, one with lights built in might be preferable.


  • A set of jumper calbes, a tow rope, fuses and an adjustable wrench.


  • A flashlight that can be hung inside the hood of your car, or mounted on the ground while you work, and a penknife.


  • A cell phone. Most of us have one of these handy at all times, but making sure have enough battery power to last you a good few hours would be a smart idea.


  • Pen and paper for anything you may need to write down - driving directions, steps to fixing a bothersome car part, or the phone number of a restuarant to explain you are going to be late for you dinner reservations.


  • A map of your route (or at least internet directions)


  • Oil rags, paper towels and handwipes. In case you haven't noticed, car repairs can get messy.


  • Duct tape. One of those great repair items, duct tape is a must-have in every car emergency kit.

If your road trip takes you off the beaten path or through some rough weater, be sure to pack warm blankets, jackets, heat pads and enough food and water for a few hours of waiting for conditions to improve or a tow truck to get to you. And, please, make sure you have a good amount of gas in your tank. Like I said earlier, I don't often meet people who run out of gas at a very conveniently located gas station.