Accidents happen. You spill hot coffee on your lap. You get a flat tire. Someone rear-ends you on your way to work. Whatever the unexpected occurrence, there are ways to be prepared for anything. In addition to [comparing auto insurance quotes](https://coverhound.com/), protect yourself by stocking your car with a few necessities in case of an emergency.
Here are seven items to keep in your car, so you can have your own back, when it feels like no one else does:
**First aid kit**
This one seems a bit obvious, but, surprisingly, 44 percent of Americans don’t have first-aid kits, according to a [2012 poll](http://chi.adelphi.edu/news-events/the-adelphi-university-center-for-health-innovation-poll/emergency-preparedness/) conducted by Adelphi University. Whether it’s a scrape, gash, or more severe injury that requires stiches, having sterilizing wipes, antibiotic ointment, bandages, and gauze is imperitive. It’s also important to have other [emergency supplies](http://www.mayoclinic.org/first-aid/first-aid-kits/basics/art-20056673) like an emergency contact list, medications (along with a list of which ones you’re currently taking), mylar blanket, and cell phone with solar charger, among other items. You may also want to keep some personal hygiene items in your vehicle as well.
Freeways are not pristine strips of road because humans are not pristine creatures. Despite the ethical and legal ramifications, people toss trash from their cars while speeding down the freeway, and other, unassuming people, like you, end up driving over said trash and getting flat tires. If you have an emergency tire kit, complete with tire iron, car jack, spare tire, and more, you can change the tire yourself and won’t have to hang out in the freeway shoulder with your hazard lights on, waiting for the roadside assistance technician to come rescue you.
In this technologically driven time, we use our cell phones for everything: communication, entertainment, searching for our keys that we dropped and accidentally kicked under our cars. But, what happens when your phone dies or you forget it at home? Or what if your phone’s flashlight isn’t enough? Sometimes, a device that was intended for a single purpose, as opposed to about 1,000 different jobs, is best. Flashlights can not only help you see in the dark, but they can also help draw attention to you if you need help without the dangers of flares. Make sure your flashlight is waterproof, so it’ll still work if you drop it in the same puddle your keys are hiding in.
Not all busineses take ApplePay or AmEx, or any card for that matter, so it’s always good to have extra cash when you’re in a pinch. Be careful, though, keeping too much money in your car is never a good idea, so limit yourself to about $100. Consider this another addition to your “disaster bag,” pack it away and forget about it until you actually need it.
With the unpredictability of life, you definitely don’t want to get stranded somewhere without sustinence. Make sure to keep non-perishible foods (like protein bars, trail mix, and dried fruit) and water in your car at all times. They’ll also come in handy if you’re in a rush and miss a meal, just be sure to replenish your stash after eating it so you’re never left hungry.
In addition to your health insurance card (which is hugely beneficial when you’re in an accident), you should have proof of auto insurance in your vehicle at all times. This is as much a legal requirement as it is a “good-to-have” because the citation, and its accompanying fine, for driving without insurance can cost you around $1,000 in some states, about as much as, if not more than, a year of car insurance. To keep this from happening, be sure you’re insured. Compare auto insurance quotes using our insurance-comparison tool.
**Change of clothes**
No one wants to get stranded, especially not without a fresh pair of pants, socks, or underwear. Keeping a change of clothes and spare undergarments in an air-tight bag can really save you in a pinch.
Sometimes it’s just you and your car’s dead battery. While it’s good to have jumper cables, they won’t help you if there are no other cars around. [Jump starters](http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/jump-starters.htm) are portable battery packs with attached cables, so you can start your own car and head back to civilization.
Before you run into some car trouble, or a natural disaster, be sure to stock your car with these emergency essentials. Have the car and your emergency items ready to go?
[See if you can save money](https://coverhound.com/auto-insurance) on your current policy by browsing auto insurance quotes today!