Five things to keep in your car

A few years ago we published an article about keeping your car organized. We stand by that advice, but want to expand on it. Instead of just ways to keep your car organized, consider these five things you might wish to keep in the car. Some will keep you organized, others keep you on the road, while one item may be able to save your life.

First aid kit

First aid kits are fairly inexpensive and readily available. If you don’t want one that is premade, consider a DIY setup. Get ahold of something like a fishing tackle box and fill it with items the Red Cross recommends.

It’s not a bad idea to take CPR/first aid classes, either.

A window smasher

Unless you’re a Hollywood action hero, the glass used in car windows is very hard to break. Keep a window smasher in the glove box or center console. Find one with a built-in seatbelt cutter, like one by LifeHammer or GOOACC. Again, make sure it’s stored within reach of the driver’s seat (it’s useless in the trunk) and that all potential drivers know how to use it.

Emergency road assistance kit

Breaking down is always a bummer, but if you do it’s nice to be prepared. A good kit from AAA includes a flashlight, batteries, booster cables, and more. Toss in a blanket in case you break down in cold weather and some road flares and you’re good. Also, ensure your car has a charger for your phone, because for some reason trouble loves to happen just as your cell phone battery dies.

Bonus item: If you have room in the trunk of your car, a portable floor jack is a useful device. They are so much faster, effective, and easier to operate than the flimsy jacks that ship with most cars.

Shoe organizer

To keep items off seats and the car floor, consider hooking a small shoe organizer over the back of the front passenger’s seat to hold snacks, water, maps, tissues, napkins, or whatever else you regularly store in the cab of your car.

The manual

If you’re like me, you gave your car’s manual a look on the day you brought your car home, tossed it in the glove box, and erased its existence from your mind entirely. It’s really full of useful stuff like how to connect your Bluetooth devices, what the light on the dashboard means, and which kind of oil to use — all advice that can save you time and energy in the future.

Now, these things are bulky and heavy, so keep that in mind. Still, if you can make it work, do it. They’re awesome.

Now that your car is tidy, add the essentials and happy motoring.

16 Comments for “Five things to keep in your car”

  1. posted by Mary Pat Higley on

    Add water,nsturdy shoes, flashlights, cash, a wool blanket, and food for disasters.

  2. posted by Kevin Miller on

    Those window smashers are silly, in my opinion. Any wreck bad enough to require a window smasher is also bad enough to, ya know, break the windows.

  3. posted by Michael La Porte on

    In the spirit of “de-cluttering” – you can use your car’s headrest to smash the window – reducing the number of things you “need” to 4.

  4. posted by Kat on

    I advise readers to check their car manual before hanging a shoe organizer or any other item from their seats. If the vehicle has active head restraints, this practice is disallowed – it could interfere with the operation of the head restraint in a crash. Here is a sample warning from a Honda car manual. (Child Passenger Safety Technician, Canada).

  5. posted by Kathy on

    About the window smashers – I don’t have one, but have been meaning to get one. I live in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, and landing in a lake or river is a realistic possibility. Presumably the electric window controls would immediately be inoperative, and from what I’ve read, opening a car door underwater is almost impossible because of the water pressure. Thanks for the reminder.

  6. posted by Eileen on

    I was told to pull out the headrest and the two rods at the bottom of it will break the window.

  7. posted by Lisa on

    I ust read that about the headrest, too, and that car windows are supposedly designed to break easily from the inside.
    However, I did read it on facebook, not sure where it originated from, or it is true.

  8. posted by James on

    The headrests are not designed to break windows. It is very hard to open a car door under water. (You have to wait until there is water inside the car.) By then you may be too far under to swim back to the surface. Some window smashers also have a seat belt cutter (I think)
    You never know what will break in an accident.

  9. posted by Nana on

    An earthquake / bug-out backpack [readily available] for car as well as home. Metallic ‘space blanket’ rather than wool…lighter and repells water. Comfortable shoes [in case you’re wearing spike heels].

  10. posted by Tina in NJ on

    Definitely a blanket of some sort. I had a wreck 26 years ago (pre cell phones) and someone who stopped had old bathrobes that they gave us. We were all in shock (physical, not just emotional) and those old bathrobes were mighty welcome.

  11. posted by SkiptheBS on

    Combo flat/Phillips screwdriver and a set of combination wrenches. If you can’t do emergency repairs, someone might come along who can.

  12. posted by To Kevin Miller on

    Kevin, window smashers are for cars sinking in a body of water (doors wont open due to pressure)…. However slim the odds it only takes one incident. Especially if you live near water and commute on bridges like I do.

    In addition we keep in our car: Lights, and lots of them. quarters and a little cash (honestly I have to replace this every month b/c my husband uses it for the barber LOL). change of socks, and extra boots. We used to keep a mini snow shovel (the kind back country skiers use in avalanche country). But now that we live in the south… extra flip flops, sunscreen and small beach chairs have thankfully replaced those things. 🙂

  13. posted by Kezia on

    Get your hands on a diaper. Have used one before as a dressing for someone bleeding – very effective. Keep it in a large ziploc (in a pinch that could be used for a kid to pee in if you’re in the middle of a huge highway back up)

  14. posted by Rajesh Agarwal on

    When we go by our car, security is the first concern. That is why we extra wheel for our protection. After that First aid kit with water is the most important thing we should have in our car.

  15. posted by Whatsapp Web on

    car for which we have very good information

  16. posted by Cynthia Wilcox on

    I drive 45 miles each way to work and much of that is rural so I probably keep more in my car than most people. I agree wholeheartedly with the extra pair of shoes/socks but I also do keep a change of clothes (old t-shirt and yoga pants). The backseat cover that I bought for when my dog is riding with me also works as a water-proof tarp or ground cover for many purposes. The inexpensive fold-up rain ponchos have come in handy on more than one occasion, too.

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