12 lifesaving items you should never remove from your car

Even if you're not worried about ever having to survive a zombie apocalypse by living out of your car, it's a good idea to keep certain items available at all times. After all, if it's not zombies, there's always the Yellowstone supervolcano, right?
Most likely, though, the emergencies you will encounter on the road will have to do with car trouble or weather delays; for these, you will need gear and comfort items that will last at least a few hours. These 12 items will get you through most short-term problems, and should be kept in your car at all times:
1. Backpack preparedness kit
The Red Cross advises carrying these items; it's probably best to pack them into a backpack:
-- Cell phone with car charger
-- Emergency names and phone numbers
-- First-aid kit
-- Flares
-- Flashlight with extra batteries
-- Food (high-protein snacks) and bottled water
-- Mylar blanket
-- Prescription medications, if needed
-- Sand or cat litter (for gaining tire traction)
-- Whistle​
Additional items should be added during certain seasons or in certain regions (e.g., winter gloves, dust masks).
2. New (and empty) gas can
A gas can makes it easy to transport gas from a filling station to your car if you accidentally run out. Just make sure it is empty and brand new, advises Men's Health. Any gasoline, or even just fumes, in the can is a fire and explosion hazard. Better to just walk to the station.
3. Siphon pump
Carrying a siphon pump -- and knowing how to use it, of course -- ensures that you will be able to "borrow" some gas from a Good Samaritan when you've run out.
4. Fire extinguisher
Keep a small, portable fire extinguisher handy in case of fire. Popular Mechanics advises a fire extinguisher with a 1A10BC or 2A10BC classification to prevent carbeques.
5. Jumper cables
It's a no-brainer for a reason -- dead batteries are a common cause of car problems. With jumper cables handy, you can easily get a jumpstart from someone else when you need it. Men's Health recommends 6-8 feet of cable length between the pincer ends.
6. Tire-changing kit
Another common reason for problems on the road are tire issues, so it makes good sense to know how to change a tire and carry the tools to do it. According to Pep Boys, your tire-changing kit should include:
-- spare tire
-- lug wrench
-- jack
-- wheel chocks
-- emergency warning devices
7. Tire sealant
When tires are leaking air but not quite flat, or you have suffered a simple puncture (not on the sidewall of the tire), a can of sealant can have you back on the road in minutes.
Watch this video from Pep Boys to see how easy it is -- as simple as putting air in your tire! You will need to have the tire seen by a professional within 100 miles of driving, but that should be enough to get you to safety.​
8. Emergency cell phone charger
A portable battery charger can keep your cell phone working when you need it most (don't forget the lightning cable). Of course, you'll need to keep the portable charger charged; if that's too much hassle, Men's Health advises looking for a charger with a hand crank.
Tip: Some portable chargers are powerful enough to jumpstart your vehicle -- no more jumper cables!
9. Urinals
When you gotta go, you gotta go; it doesn't matter if you're in the middle of an emergency. Popular Mechanics recommends these simple plastic containers, and Pep Boys sells "travel urinals" with a liquid that turns into odorless gel after use. Either option is great to have on hand at all times, especially if you drive with small children in the car!
10. Duct tape
Yes, duct tape. From fashioning a drinking cup to holding car parts temporarily in place to certain car repairs, duct tape is a rock star in a vehicle. describes duct tape as an "auto essential" and lists more than 38 automotive uses! Apparently, this includes solving the problem of having an extra passenger.
11. Shovel
A shovel can dig you out of snow, sure, but Popular Mechanics points out that it can also be used to dig through sand or soft dirt so you can pour your kitty litter or position your floormats under your tires for traction. There are several lightweight, folding shovels available.
12. Cash
Men's Health recommends keeping a fair amount of small bills well-hidden in your car. While this may seem risky, there are definitely situations in which a debit or credit card is not going to be helpful, making your problem even worse. Store the cash out of the way in an old sock or empty Altoid tin.
How many of these items are in your car right now? Be sure to SHARE this information on Facebook so others can be sure that they are prepared to spend unexpected hours in their vehicle.
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