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Road safety should be everybody’s top priority. However, life often gets in the way, and remembering to carry certain things with you in case of winter weather, road closures, or other unexpected emergencies can often take a back seat to getting the kids to school, grabbing groceries, and running errands. Taking the time to ensure that the following 11 things are in your car at all times can help you be prepared for any situation on the road, and they take very little time to compile. Once you have these items in your car, you’ll be prepared.

A Full Gas Tank

A full gas tank should be your number one priority. You never know when you’ll be stranded somewhere, have to take a detour, or be stuck off-course. Having an empty tank will only make this situation worse. Don’t ever wait until the last minute to fill up your gas tank. Always make sure that your tank is as full as possible, and never let it get below a half tank.

First-Aid Kit

A first-aid kit should be in your car at all times. In the kit make sure you have any medications you or your family members take on a regular basis, band-aids, rubbing alcohol, peroxide, bug bite cream, and other similar items. If injuries occur when you’re on the road, you’ll be able to prevent infection and minimize risk until you can get the injury looked at by a medical professional.

Cellphone and Charger

Never be without your cell phone or a charger. Always make sure you have one that is compatible with your car’s charging mechanism. Try to always have a backup battery with you, as well. This will help ensure you’re never stranded without a way to call for help or look up crucial information.

Flashlight

Whether you’re stranded in the dark or you need to find something under the seat, you’ll be much better prepared for road emergencies if you have a flashlight with you at all times. Try to make sure it’s an LED, high-power flashlight so you can also flag down emergency vehicles with it if need be.

Water and Snacks

If you’re stranded, food and water will quickly become your number one priority. Having a supply of bottled water and snacks that are high on carbs and won’t go bad quickly (canned fruit and veggies, trail mix, dried fruit, and crackers are good starts) is imperative. Also, keep sugary foods and drinks on hand, as well, just in case someone runs low blood sugar.

Ice Scraper and Snow Brush

An ice scraper and snow brush are things are worth having even if you don’t think you’ll run into winter weather. Freak storms, detours, and getting lost are just three situations in which you might run into harsh winter weather that you wouldn’t have otherwise anticipated. These can help you keep your windshield clear and your driving visibility at its highest.

Boots, Gloves, and Warm Clothes

If you’re stuck in cold weather you’re going to want to have warm clothing, boots, and gloves. This is true even if you’re not stuck in the snow or ice. A cold night stranded in a remote area can be enough to cause serious injury and even death if you’re not prepared to stay warm. Never be without a change of warm clothes for everyone in the family — and don’t forget pets!

Music and Games

If you’re stranded, the last thing you want is to be cold, hungry, and bored. Having music and games to keep kids occupied and keep yourself from losing your sanity while you await emergency vehicles or help can be a life saver of a whole different kind. Always have some music and fun things to do with you.

Jumper Cables

Experiencing engine failure or a breakdown is bad enough, but if you have jumper cables with you, all you need is a friendly stranger with a running car to get back on track. Even if getting a jump won’t allow you to travel all the way home, it can often be the difference between having access to repair shops and emergency aid stations, and being stranded. Always carry jumper cables, and be sure you know how to use them.

Flares

In an emergency, your top priority will be flagging down help. However, alerting other cars that you’re broken down can also be helpful. This helps to prevent them from accidentally hit your car as you’re awaiting aid. Flares are helpful for both of these situations, especially in the dark.

Tire Chains

Freak snow storm? It’ll be a lot easier to get through if you have tire chains. This is another “When will I ever use those?” items that people often fail to have in their cars. However, snow can happen in the most unlikely places, and trying to drive through it without tire chains is not only going to be troublesome, it can be deadly and dangerous.

By carrying these 11 things with you in the car at all times, you can drive with peace of mind knowing that no matter what happens you’ll be able to survive and stay safe until help arrives. Make sure every member of your family is aware of where these items are in the car, and that they know how to use them. Keeping a laundry basket with these items in the trunk is a great way to keep everything together in an easily accessible place so they can be retrieved quickly and easily in the event of an emergency.