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Prepare an emergency road kit

Avoiding breakdowns is biggie on the traveler “to do” list. After all, pulling over on the highway to wait for AAA is never fun and with children in tow it’s even less so. Before any road trip it always wise to make sure your car is in great running order.

Taking it to a mechanic is usually advised, but sometimes a simple oil change and making sure the tire pressure is adequate will suffice.

But, in case an emergency or mini-emergency does happen, you can make sure you and your crew are prepared by keeping a road trip emergency car kit in your trunk or under one of the seats.

First Things First:

First and foremost, every vehicle should have a spare tire in good working condition, ready to pop on in case one of your tires blows. This is a common issue- so keeping a spare on hand will save you time and money, especially if you can change it yourself.

Basic Supplies:

Next, you’ll want to keep basic supplies on hand. Some of these items, will naturally already be in your car, others you’ll think are going a little overboard, but just think about how much you’ll appreciate each one, if you were placed in a situation where it was needed. It’s always better to be safe than to be… sorry!

  • High Visibility Vest
  • Car Jack
  • Card Board
  • Knee Pads
  • Glow Sticks/Flags
  • Folding Caution Cones
  • Work Gloves
  • Jumper Cables
  • Utility Knife
  • Tools (pliers, wrench, screw driver, electrical tape…)
  • Spares (belts, hoses, fuses….)
  • Fluids (antifreeze, motor oil, brake fluid…)
  • Aerosol Tire Inflator
  • Emergency Flare
  • Small Fire Extinguisher
  • Blanket
  • Flashlight
  • First Aid Kit
  • Gallon of Water

Weather Gear:

Once you’ve taken care of the basic, think about the weather. Cold weather and warm weather bring their own set of fear factors, and each will require attention and planning to make sure your family is safe in case of an emergency, in extreme cold or heat climates.

Cold weather brings warm fires, but it also brings ice, sleet and snow. The only thing that can turn a simple breakdown into a car catastrophe is being unprepared and freezing cold, while fighting the elements to fix your vehicle problems, with small children or pets in need. If you’re traveling in cold weather or through an area known for spontaneous snow storms, think about keeping these extra items on hand:

  • Sleeping Bags/Fleece Blankets
  • Candles + Matches
  • Hand Warmers
  • Ice Scraper
  • Deicer
  • Folding Shovel
  • Cat Litter
  • Traction Mat
  • Heavy Work Gloves

When you find yourself traveling in warm weather, take into consideration that the sun will likely continue to shine strong despite your lack of air conditioning, water or patience. Warm weather, can be just as dangerous as cold weather and with the increased risk of dehydration- you’ll now need at least an extra gallon of water in your emergency car kit, but consider also packing these items:

  • Extra Water
  • Sun Screen
  • Bug Repellant
  • Small Battery Operated Fan
  • Sun Hats or Visors
  • Windshield shade


Once the road trip comes to a screeching halt, because you’ve broken down the adults will be so preoccupied with the bigger issues at hand, keeping the kids happy and content will become more of a struggle. As they get more and more restless and their patience is replaced with an insatiable appetite, you’ll be glad you remembered to pack the following:

  • Juice Boxes
  • Granola Bars
  • Trail Mix
  • Coloring Books
  • Word Searches
  • Extra Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • UNO Cards

My hope is that your family, as well as my own, will never have to use the kit we’ve taken so much time and effort to put together. But the reality is, many of us will. Our lives are in perpetual motion. Spending more time on the road, means the chances of having roadside emergencies increases.

Being prepared with even half of the above items, may help your family in a time of need, when time is ticking and eyes are watching. Let’s make a promise to do ourselves a favor; make life easier on ourselves and our families by planning for the unexpected and in the return our time on the road will be more enjoyable.

About Sharee Collier

Sharee Collier, hit the road with her family of six back in 2013, when they decided enough was enough. They packed up their stuff in a perpetual journey seeking to find new and exciting adventures in family travel, homeschooling and workamping. Follow their journey at: Web: | Facebook: | Instagram:

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