When you're on the open road, anything can happen. This is why everyone should have a roadside assistance rider on your insurance policy or work with a standalone company. However, inclement weather, remote locations with no cell phone service, and other issues may be outside of your and your roadside assistance provider's control. For these reasons, it's best if you also take responsibility for your safety and well-being and keep a bag packed in your trunk for emergency situations. Here's what you should keep in it.
A Fire Extinguisher
The best roadside assistance service in the world won't be able to reach you instantly. If a fire breaks out in your engine, you will need to use a fire extinguisher immediately to put it out. Keep it secured in the trunk of your car or inside your vehicle on the floor. It must be strapped down so as to not become a flying ballistic. The extinguisher must be rated by the National Fire Protection Association to handle both Class B and Class C fires, which are fires caused by fuels and electrical fires, respectively.
A Charged Cell Phone
While this may seem obvious, many people don't keep a charger in their vehicle, especially since modern phones stay charged a long time, even with regular use. But whenever you are traveling any distance, your phone should be plugged in and charging. It should also be holstered so in the event of a collision, it doesn't go flying around your vehicle, becoming either dangerous to you or others, or unreachable, thus unusable. You can't call for help without a working phone.
A Flashlight And Extra Batteries
Ideally, you should have a couple of flashlights. Place one in the glove box up front, and then secure another one in the trunk. Choose heavy-duty quality flashlights that will cast a wide beam. Don't skimp on the batteries, either. You want good batteries that will last. There's nothing worse than finding yourself stranded in complete darkness.
Keep a few gallons of water in plastic jugs in your vehicle. This can be used for drinking, but it can also be used in the event of a fire or a radiator overheating and running out of fluid.
Winter Care Items
If you live in a northern climate or an area of high altitude that sees a lot of snow, a shovel, a bag of cat litter, and a blanket should be a part of your emergency kit.