Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: Mar 19, 2022

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Preparation is part of being a responsible driver, but understanding your car insurance policy is only one aspect of being prepared for an accident. Drivers can’t predict when or where an accident will occur. Otherwise, we’d all be able to avoid the physical and financial damages. It’s important to be prepared for the possibility of motor vehicle collisions or mechanical malfunction at all times.

From being stranded in a snowstorm or when driving long distance to handling fender bender traffic collisions, here are ten supplies that equip drivers for the worst.

What emergency preparedness items should you keep in your vehicle?

  • Emergency kit: Many emergency kits are kept in the trunk or rear of a vehicle, but they should be kept in a place the driver can easily access. That may be the trunk, or it may be closer to the driver. First-aid kits are the most common type of emergency kits, but there are also emergency kits designed for breakdowns. These kits include items like jumper cables, work gloves, rain ponchos, and blankets. What else do you need?
  • Insurance Paperwork: This should go without saying, but drivers must carry their license and proof of insurance everywhere they go. While many drivers choose to keep an insurance card in their wallet, others choose to keep it in their glove compartment so that it stays with the car rather than the driver. You should decide what works best for you and any other drivers on your policy to make sure no one is ever caught driving without proof of insurance.
  • Phone charger and list of emergency numbers: Ideally, your phone will be charged enough to make a few phone calls as needed after an accident. But wrecks don’t always happen under ideal circumstances. So it’s a good idea to keep a charger for your phone on-hand. It is also helpful to store a list of emergency phone numbers close to the driver’s seat in case a your phone dies or can’t be found or recovered in the vehicle. These numbers can include family members and emergency contacts as well as numbers to your insurance agent or trusted mechanic.
  • Escape tool: It’s not only for superheroes. A single tool can mean the difference between life and death in an accident or natural disaster. The auto escape tool, which is made by many manufacturers and is sold both online and at major retailers, consists of a sharp blade designed to cut through seat belts, and two steel tips designed to break windows. The tool can be attached to a keychain or clip to a visor, for easy access.
  • Flashlight: This can be helpful if you get in a wreck at night or somewhere off the beaten path.
  • Quick tire fixes: Certain sprays and tools can be applied to small holes or flat parts on tires in order to provide a quick fix until a new tire can be purchased. If you search online, you can find goo kits that also refill your tire with air.
  • Cones, warning lights, or flares: If an accident occurs, these can be used to signal other drivers to stop or slow down, and are particularly useful if you can’t move your car out of the roadway. Ideally, you will be able to place cones or warning triangles at least 50 feet from your vehicle to warn other drivers.

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What items should you bring on longer drives?

Road trips should be fun, but preparing for the worst is a smart way to keep disaster at arm’s length. In addition to knowing whether you have enough coverage in the event of an accident, keeping some safety gear with you is advisable. The following are some suggestions for what you should keep with you on a long haul.

  • Water and Food: In an emergency, you may need access to food and water. Water can be helpful not only for drinking. It can also be poured on an overheating engine in order to keep it from catching fire and causing permanent damage. Especially if you travel in remote areas, food and water could help you if your car breaks down and you have to wait for help from emergency responders.
  • Disposable camera: Even though most people carry smartphones or camera phones now, it is still a good idea to keep a disposable camera in your car in order to document any accidents that occur. You simply can’t be sure you will be able to access your phone or that it will be charged enough whenever an accident occurs. Having a camera on hand is just one more way to protect yourself after an accident.
  • Pen and paper: After any type of collision or other type of accident, you’ll need to write down some crucial information about other drivers involved, such as license, insurance policy, and car make and model information. Keep a pen and paper handy so that you won’t have to dig for it when you’re already a bit frantic after an accident.

Are you prepared for an emergency while driving?

Emergency services will ideally respond quickly if you need them. Whether you’re in a collision or something else happens, you should always be prepared when you’re on the road. A basic level of emergency preparedness can go a long way.

Some people prefer to keep a supply of food in the form of a 24-hour kit or 72-hour kit. Others keep medical kits, flat tire kits, and more in their vehicle at all times. Driving responsibly is only part of being prepared on the road.

Understanding your auto insurance policy can also be a huge benefit. Knowing what type of coverage you have can save you from a financial headache in the aftermath of an accident.

If you’re unhappy with your current insurance provider, or you’re wanting to see what else is on the market, we have a free comparison tool that will let you compare quotes from different companies.