This October make sure your car is ready for anything. It’s essential to make sure your car is in good working order before winter hits – see our recent article for more. AAA also recommends keeping an emergency road kit in your car at all times to prevent an inconvenience from becoming an emergency.

But what do you need? The items for a basic kit can be gathered from around the home or purchased already assembled, like the AAA Premier Traveler Road Kit (pictured). Check out the lists below!

  • Items listed in bold are included in the AAA Premier Traveler Road Kit.*
  • Items listed in italics are included in the AAA Severe Weather Road Kit.*
  • Items with an asterisk (*) are available for purchase at the AAA Travel Store! Selection may vary by location.

Roadside Preparedness Kit

  • Jumper cables
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Warning devices (flares or triangles- remember to always follow all safety instructions when using flares)
  • Shop cloth (or a roll of paper towels)
  • First-aid supplies
  • Drinking water
  • Non-perishable snacks for both human and pet passengers
  • Window washer solvent
  • Basic toolkit (screwdrivers, pliers, adjustable wrench or a good multipurpose tool)
  • Car charger* for your phone (which should be programmed with rescue apps and important phone numbers including family and emergency services.)
  • Emergency escape tool (such as ResQMe*)

If you don’t have an emergency escape tool in your car yet, you need to have one. They range from a full-sized seven inches, to a keychain-sized three inches, and include a seatbelt cutter and a window breaker. Larger sizes can be kept in a glove box or mounted to the car interior for easy access when needed. Certain styles include a flashlight or beacon, giving you multiple kit items in one.

Winter driving items for your kit should include:

  • Snow shovel
  • Blankets (or an aluminum fabric Emergency Blanket*)
  • Extra warm clothing (gloves, hats, scarves)
  • Ice scraper*
  • Bag of abrasive material (sand, salt, cat litter) or traction mats
  • Tire Chains (optional) and work gloves for when you fit them on

Tire chains can be either a recommended or required winter accessory, depending on where you plan to be driving. Whereas the Idaho State Police only recommend having chains on hand in case they are needed, in Oregon you may be required to use chains if the roads become snowy or icy. AAA Show Your Card & Save Partner, Napa offers a 10% discount to AAA members and carries a variety of chains for all vehicles.

Another great preparedness item is the American Red Cross FRX2 Emergency Radio.* It receives AM, FM, and NOAA Weather Band broadcasts in case of weather emergencies, and can be charged via hand crank, mini USB, or solar cell. It includes a flashlight and a smartphone charger (so you can charge your phone with the hand crank even if your car battery is dead). Only slightly larger than a box of animal crackers, it is a small and necessary addition to every car and home.

And just a reminder: keep your AAA card in your wallet, not in your glove box. It covers you, rather than your car and allows us to come help you- no matter who is driving!

For further information on preparedness and what you should have in your kit check out: