- Roadside emergency car kits can ensure you have some useful items on hand, in case your vehicle breaks down or is involved in an accident.
- Our top picks are well-stocked, full of practical supplies, and all available at reasonable price points – from STDY, Roadside Rescue, Lifeline AAA, and Always Prepared.
When I, as a teenager, bought my first car, my parents gave me a roadside emergency kit for Christmas. For years, that kit sat in the back of my car, unused – until one day it didn’t. When my car broke down on the side of the road, during torrential rain, I was so glad to have that kit. It had everything I needed, including a poncho, reflective triangle, and roadside flares. It also contained jumper cables that I’ve now used numerous times to help friends jump-start their cars’ dead batteries.
Don’t think of roadside emergency kits as “just in case” purchases; if you are ever in a situation where you’d need them, they’re invaluable. You can purchase everything from the most basic kit to a deluxe package with more supplies than you could ever possibly use, but finding the right kit takes some time. Some more affordable kits include low-quality supplies, and when you’re in a pinch you don’t want to depend on a product that won’t work. Other kits have some essential items, but they don’t include some important basics you’ll almost certainly need.
We’ve identified the best roadside emergency kits to help make your decision easier. Our selections are based on a number of factors, and we’ve assessed the items contained in the kits, any valuable items that may be missing, the overall quality of the products, the kits’ price points, and how satisfied buyers are with their purchases. Many of these kits include items that the National Safety Council, Ready, and the American Automobile Association recommend in a roadside emergency kit, but not all, like a can opener, batteries, hand-crank radio, etc.
Keeping a kit in each vehicle you drive can give you peace of mind that you’re prepared in the case of a breakdown or an accident. These kits also make excellent gifts for new drivers, or for anyone who has a vehicle but doesn’t yet have a kit of their own.
Here are the best roadside emergency kits you can buy in 2019:
- Best budget roadside emergency kit: STDY Auto Emergency Kit
- Best premium roadside emergency kit: Roadside Rescue Emergency Assistant Kit
- Best winter roadside emergency kit: Lifeline AAA Severe Weather Road Safety Kit
- Best high-visibility roadside emergency kit: Always Prepared Reflective Car Emergency Roadside Kit
Updated on 09/12/2019 by Caitlin Petreycik: Updated links, formatting, selection, and prices.
The best budget kit
At approximately $30, the STDY Auto Emergency Kit is full of 57 items, making it a great starter roadside kit on a budget.
The STDY Auto Emergency Kit isn’t as comprehensive as some other kits, but it provides surprising value for its lower price point. This kit has all of the essentials, including a reflective warning triangle, a tire repair kit, an emergency blanket, a tow rope, jumper cables, and a safety hammer. The hammer itself is reason enough to buy this kit since it allows you to break the glass and cut a seat-belt in an emergency.
There’s also a first aid kit with scissors, cotton swabs, tweezers, and other helpful items – but no bandages or ointment is included. Essentials like jumper cables and a tow rope can help you to get back on the road. This kit also includes a whistle, an important safety feature that many other kits overlook.
Pros: Affordably priced, contains the essentials, includes items like an emergency blanket and tweezers that other kits overlook
Cons: Missing some important items like bandages and flares
The best premium kit
The Roadside Rescue Emergency Assistant Kit is a 110-piece grab bag that prepares you for just about any emergency you could encounter while on the road.
If you’d like to be super-prepared for just about any situation you could encounter while on the road, then the Roadside Emergency Assistance Kit is for you. This comprehensive 110-piece kit contains practical supplies that you’re likely to put to use, like a heavy-duty tow strap, a flashlight, a tire pressure gauge, and jumper cables. It also includes a few items you’re less likely to need – a seat belt cutter, an emergency blanket, a windshield breaker – but that are definitely worth having, if only for the peace of mind.
The 64-piece first aid kit tucked inside the larger canvas duffel bag is also super comprehensive, with items like arm slings, an assortment of bandages, medical tape, gauze, and alcohol pads.
Other key resources you’ll find: a magnesium fire starter, a roadside warning sign, and an 11-in-one multi-tool.
While this kit has an impressive 4.8-star rating on Amazon (that’s out of 103 customer reviews), a few people did point out that the jumper cables didn’t feel as sturdy as they had hoped.
Pros: 110 pieces to handle nearly any emergency, 64-piece first aid kit, items to get you back on the road
Cons: Some customers have found the jumper cables to be a bit flimsy
The best winter kit
With warming supplies to help keep you comfortable during a winter weather breakdown, the Lifeline AAA Severe Weather Road Safety Kit is a must for cold-weather travel.
A breakdown in winter weather requires particular supplies, and the Lifeline AAA Severe Weather Road Safety Kit is designed just for that circumstance. Warmth will become a real concern in the event that you can’t turn your vehicle on or have limited gas, and this kit includes warmth accessories such as tea candles; a fleece set of gloves, scarf, and hat; an emergency blanket; and hand-warmer packets.
Additional supplies include a folding shovel, LED flashlight, batteries, emergency whistle, and ice scraper. This kit also includes a 45-piece first aid kit. Everything is stored neatly in a compact bag that can fit underneath a seat.
The value of this kit is really in its warming items, which aren’t offered by many other kits. If you live in an area that receives harsh winter weather, this kit would be well worth the investment. Pair this kit with some visibility essentials, like road flares, and you’ll have a well-rounded emergency supply collection for winter weather.
One Amazon shopper wrote, “I researched a lot of car kits to give to my husband and this was perfect. We live in Colorado, so a good ‘severe weather’ kit was essential … It doesn’t take up too much room in his truck and I will be ordering one for my vehicle as well.”
Pros: Warming supplies, 45-piece first aid kit
Cons: Battery-powered flashlight would be better if replaced by a light with a hand crank, kit would benefit from some emergency visibility supplies
The best high-visibility kit
The Always Prepared Reflective Car Emergency Roadside Kit contains high-visibility supplies to help keep you safe if you’re ever stranded roadside.
Whereas many emergency kits fall short on quality high-visibility products, the Always Prepared Reflective Car Emergency Roadside Kit focuses entirely on making you visible to other drivers. These items are essential for keeping you safe if your car breaks down on the side of the road, and increased visibility can potentially keep other drivers from hitting you or your car.
This kit contains everything you need to maximize your safety during a breakdown. Two reflective triangles fold up for compact storage and can be set out to draw attention to your vehicle. One flashing LED emergency light and one neon safety vest also help to keep you safe and visible.
All of these items fit neatly inside a storage bag that can be tucked underneath a seat or placed in your trunk. Because it doesn’t contain other essential items, it’s best paired with another roadside emergency kit.
Pros: Higher quality, heavy-duty visibility items, easy to use, compact storage fits under a seat
Cons: Should be paired with another kit for a more complete supply of emergency items
Check out our guide on the best steering wheel covers
Want to keep your steering wheel cool in the summer, warm in the winter, and stylish all year round? Check out our list of the best steering wheel covers out there, and instantly personalize your vehicle.
- Best steering wheel cover overall: Wheelskins Original Genuine Leather Steering Wheel Cover
- Best odorless steering wheel cover: Vitodeco Luxury Genuine Leather Steering Wheel Cover
- Best colorful steering wheel cover: A-Lighting Cloth Steering Wheel Cover
- Best steering cover for grip: Moyishi Leather Steering Wheel Cover
- Best affordable steering cover: SEG Direct Microfiber Leather Steering Wheel Cover