If you own a car, there are a few essential items you should keep at the ready whether you live in the heart of one of the biggest cities in the nation or you’re rolling through the countryside when you leave home. It also doesn’t matter whether you drive thousands of miles each year or much less than that.
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Some people were lucky enough to have a parent, grandparent or just a concerned adult in their lives when they first began driving to teach them these things. Not everyone is so fortunate, but we’ve got your back.

Now, before we get to our list, we’re going to assume you’ve already got a few essentials in place. First and foremost, we’re assuming you have a spare tire and the necessary tools such as a tire iron and jack to change the tire should you need to. If that isn’t the case, it’s an issue that needs to be corrected as soon as possible. You might also want to have jumper cables, though should you ever need them, you’re also going to need another driver willing to use their car to help jump start yours.

Even people with brand new cars and no expectation of a breakdown ought to have a few other essentials on hand because you never know what might lead to needing them.

  • Flashlight

Maybe your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere at night and you need a way to look under the hood, under the car or flag down passing motorists and you don’t want to waste the battery in your cellphone. Maybe you’re in a dark parking lot and you drop something important. Get yourself a flashlight with new batteries and stash it in the trunk or glove compartment.

  • Blanket

Not only can a blanket keep you or someone else warm or comforted if you’re in an emergency situation, it can also be used for myriad other tasks such as a sun shield or a clean surface on which to kneel while you change that tire.

  • Jug of water

You and your car have at least this much in common, you both need water. Having a gallon handy might save the day if your car overheats or if you’re overheating while waiting for a tow truck to arrive.

  • First aid kit

Any number of things could happen when you’re outside your car that might lead to the need for a bandaid or a bandage when you return to the vehicle. It’s also good to have some basics available should you be involved in an accident with injuries or you decide to stop and help someone who has been hurt.

  • Fire extinguisher

Chances are good you will never need it, but if you ever do, you will thank yourself for having it.