Ten Items to Have in Your Car in Case of an Emergency

This whole train of thought flowed (no pun intended) from the water main break that flooded River Road in Montgomery County and stranded several drivers. I was wondering what people, particularly attorneys, thought you should keep in your car in case of emergencies. The following list compiles some of the responses I received.

As a personal injury attorney, these are the things I wish my clients would keep in their cars in case of an emergency:

  1. Disposable camera – nothing helps a case more, or kills it, than pictures taken of the scene at the time of the accident. Get a disposable that generates digital pictures and keep it where you can get to it.
  2. First aid kit – they are so easy to get and so useful even in non-emergency situations.
  3. Lifehammer/ResQMe/Window Punch – see my earlier post regarding the flood on River Road that started this whole discussion. One of these are necessary in case you have to break a window in your car from the insode.
  4. Flashlight – I didn’t have one when I got a flat tire on I-270 and I was a major accident waiting to happen on the side of the road. In this case AAA came through like a charm.
  5. ICE – In Case of Emergency (ICE) entry in your cell phone or PDA with the contact information of who to reach in case of emergency. First responders are taught to look for this.
  6. Batteries – my wife has an entire store full of batteries in the car, mostly to drive the kids entertainment platforms, but when the flashlight battery runs out you will want a spare.
  7. Flares & jumper cables – again, one of the best Christmas gifts my mother ever gave her sons was a set of heavy duty, extra long, jumper cables in a case that included instructions (which I needed). The extra long ones are particularly helpful.
  8. Boots – I really need these standing in the mud on the side of the I-270.
  9. Summary of medical information for each family member, to include blood type and any ongoing medical conditions and medications taken (not the meds themselves necessarily). Remember, you might not be the only one in the car.
  10. Copy of your health care power of attorney and/or living will.

But beyond those things, the list of items that people carry in their cars was pretty extensive. My mother has the most well equipped trunk of anyone I know. We joke that she could survive a week or two in her car. She has several items on this list (including a baseball bat which isn’t on the list). Here is the rest of the list, in alphabetical order. Tell me what you think should be on the list.

  1. aspirin or some other pain reliever
  2. bag of sand in the trunk
  3. batteries
  4. blanket
  5. boots
  6. can opener
  7. candles and a folger’s coffee can to burn them in.
  8. cash – at least $100 or whatever is sufficient for a tow
  9. cell phone charger
  10. disposable camera
  11. dog treats as my puppy is often with me,
  12. extra business cards
  13. extra cell phone
  14. extra mirror & makeup,
  15. extra pair of shoes
  16. extra pantyhose
  17. extra top
  18. first aid kit
  19. flares
  20. flashlight
  21. food
  22. hammer
  23. health care power of attorney
  24. hedge clippers
  25. kleenex.
  26. list of phone numbers for family and friends and roadside rescue services
  27. living will
  28. matches
  29. needle & thread,
  30. one of the most important things someone can do is to place an ICE entry on their mobile phone or PDA. ICE = In Case of Emergency Create an entry titled ICE and insert the contact information for the person who should be contacted if you can’t respond. First responders are now taught to access a persons phone and look for an ICE contact.
  31. paper
  32. pen/pencil/magic marker
  33. pliers.
  34. portable battery operated fan
  35. roll of duct tape
  36. screwdriver
  37. seat-belt cutter
  38. shovel
  39. sleeping bag
  40. something to read while you wait for help
  41. stain remover,
  42. summary of medical information for each family member, to include blood type and any ongoing medical conditions and medications taken (not the meds themselves necessarily)
  43. tea bags
  44. tire repair kit including inflator device,
  45. towels – 6 or 8 of them if you have room
  46. water
  47. wet wipes,
  48. window punch
  49. wire, electrical and binding

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