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15 Surprising Things to Keep in Your Car for Emergencies

15. Small Candle in a Container

It might not seem like a good idea to light a candle in your car, but it can actually be a lifesaver. If you end up stranded in the cold with a car that won’t start, lighting a small candle in your car can help raise the temperature inside your vehicle so you don’t freeze. Now, a single candle is not going to feel the same as a nice, warm, roaring fireplace, but it can make a serious difference until help arrives. As with candles anywhere, don't leave them unattended, and make sure you've found a secure, flat surface to place them on. 

14. Fire-starter of Some Kind

A road flare can be used to make other drivers aware of you, but it has another purpose as well: starting fires. Even if you don’t know how to start a fire from scratch, you can easily collect some sticks and leaves and use one of these to light it. If you don’t have a road flare, at least make sure to have some match or a lighter.

13. Posters and Permanent Markers

Signs are easily visible to passing drivers, even at night, so you’ll have a much better chance of being spotted when you’re stranded on the side of the road if you have a sign out. You can also place it on top of your car so helicopters can spot you when you’re stranded in remote areas.

12. Whistle

Save your voice and energy by using a whistle if you need assistance in a somewhat deserted area. Whistles can usually be heard from farther away than your voice and are a widely known sign of distress.

11. Change of Clothes and Sneakers

You will inevitably get drenched while changing a tire in the rain or snow, so a change of clothes can be invaluable. A pair of sneakers are a good idea as well in case you have to leave your vehicle and walk a long distance to find help.

10. Road Salt

If you happen to get stuck in ice, you can dump road salt on the ice, wait about an hour, place your towel under one of your driving tires, and your car will have a much easier time getting out.

9. Blanket

A towel would probably suffice for spending one night in your car, but if you end up having to stay there for several days, an actual blanket will help you sleep at night and will keep you warm.

8. Duct Tape

It’s definitely possible to temporarily re-attach a muffler or other small car part with duct tape if it falls off while you’re on the road. The tape will hold that piece to your car until you can make it to a repair shop.

7. Towel

A towel can be used to stem blood flow from minor to moderate injuries, used as traction to get your tires unstuck, as a blanket to keep warm, or as simply a towel, if you happen to get drenched from rain or snow.

6. Bottled Water

Staying hydrated should be your primary concern if you happen to get stranded in a desolate area. You will need to replace the water bottles every week or so, especially during the summer months, because chemicals from the plastic can leach into the water.

5. Toilet Paper

Does this need an explanation?

4. Cash

If you forget to grab your wallet or it gets stolen, $20 (in smaller bills) can really come in handy to buy gas, tip a tow truck driver, or buy some bottled water and food.

3. Energy Bars

They’re easier to store than regular food and will keep you full and energized for days, if need be. Store four or five in your vehicle and replace them whenever they expire. Non-chocolate bars are best since they will not melt.

2. Fully Charged Cell Phone (Turned Off)

Even without a cellular plan, old cell phones still have the capability to call 911 in case of an emergency. Keep one in your car at all times, but make sure to check the charge every month or so.

1. A Camera

Phone cameras are great, but sometimes they can be unreliable. If you get in a wreck, you should have a disposable camera on hand to document the damage and the other person’s license plate information.