car first aid kit

Always Prepared: What You Need in a Car First Aid Kit

Here’s the thing about driving: It’s a matter of time before you’re hurt.

Every extra minute you’re on the road increases your chance of an accident. It’s a numbers game and your time is running out. In fact, most people will experience at least 3 traffic incidents in their lifetime!

Dangerous drivers are the usual priority when getting behind the wheel. Yet, what would happen if you broke down on a long stretch of highway? What would you do if someone got injured yet emergency services were miles away?

A car first aid kit could change the outcome of these incidents.

No, you don’t need to create a kit as if you’re the warrior of the wasteland. A couple of essentials will tide you over until help arrives. So, keep reading and find out why you need a car safety kit and what goes into them.

Here’s Why You Need a Car First Aid Kit

Wondering why you need a first aid kit in your car when there are services like AAA and other roadside services? It comes down to the unexpected and when we’re talking about driving… anything can happen.

Reasons to have a first aid kit include:

Stop Blood Loss

A deep cut can turn into a serious threat if blood loss goes uncontrolled. A first aid kit becomes a literal life safer by patching cuts until responders arrive.

Medical Savings

A crash can have you on-edge making you feel the need to visit a clinic or emergency room for minor issues. A few deep breaths and minor bandaging could save a good deal of money.

Prevent Infections

Cuts can become dangerous if left untreated if they become infectious. Take care of issues when it happens vs letting it go until it becomes problematic days later.

Offer Supplies

A good samaritan may pull over to help with your emergency. If lucky, they may have medical response training. Having first aid items could let them patch passengers up effectively.

Take Control

You may feel calm but others could prove erratic. Supplies could act as a distraction, letting you control the situation. Controlling the situation could prevent more dangers and issues documenting the event.

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Peace of mind

Knowing you have a plan and supplies can keep you calm during these tense situations. Plus, you have supplies to help fellow drivers if they’re injured. The kit helps others remain calm the same as it does for you.

This is How to Make a First Aid Kit for Your Car

A generic first aid kit will cover most scrapes, bumps, and bruises. But, you do crazy things when you’re in a panic. Digging in the kit in a scramble could delay precious seconds needed to react to an incident.

Start with the basics and add extras depending on your typical situations.

Start with a Strong, Identifiable Box

Qualities of the first aid box should include:

  • Accessible
  • Recognizable
  • Sturdy

Opt for a bright colored box — red or yellow — so you’re not hunting for it when you need it fast. Choose a sturdy material, too, else the first aid items may get damaged if you’re involved in a major accident.

Consider its position, too, so it’s not buried by other items in your trunk. Or, have it placed under the driver or passenger seat. A kit does no good if it’s inaccessible or ejected during the event!

Include the First Aid Kit Essentials

Don’t overload your kit, making it difficult to find what you need during an emergency. Instead, cover the basics and keep them updated as supplies do go bad over time.

The Basics

Have these and you’ll at least cover the basics when building your kit:

  • Food: Canned goods, snacks, and comfort foods
  • Water: A 1-3 day supply depending on passengers
  • Clothing: A day pack to switch when needed
  • Bedding: A blanket, or two, if you need to camp
  • Phone: A basic phone can call-out to 911 without service
  • Pain relievers: A basic bottle of Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen

Cuts, Scrapes, and Bruises

To cover in the event you’re physically injured (not needing responders):

  • Bandages: An assortment of all sizes or gauze and tape
  • Antiseptic: Swabs or a small bottle of solution
  • Disposable gloves: To protect yourself from causing infections
  • Tweezers: To remove small fragments in wounds
  • Antibiotics: Creams and topicals to prevent infections
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Allergies, Stings, and Bites

  • Ointments: Hydrocortisone cream or aloe rub
  • Antihistamines: One for each major allergy
  • Hot/cold packs: To reduce swelling and provide relief

Roadside Safety

  • Flares/reflectors: To flag down passerby’s like first-responders
  • Multi-tool: Used to cut seatbelts or break windows to get to the injured

Add Items for Each Passenger Type

You’ll want to include items for every (regular) passenger you’re transporting.


We plan our medications around our normal routines. But, what happens if you’re unable to take them because you’re stuck on the road?

  • Prescriptions
  • Anti-diarrheal
  • Allergic suppressors
  • Asthma inhalers


Account for children and their well-being if they need assistance. These aren’t for medical emergencies but could provide much-needed comfort:

  • Toys
  • Diapers
  • Comfort items


Don’t forget your four-legged family members:

  • Portable water/food bowl
  • Medical and ownership records
  • Milk of magnesia (for poisons)
  • Canned or dry food

Extras Worth Including

Your kit covers essentials but every drive and their passenger have different needs. Here are those little extras you may want to consider including.


What’s included in the kit for one area may not apply if you live in a drastically different location. Include items specific to where you commute like extra blankets if it’s cold. Or, extra water for areas with intense heat.


Every second matter for emergency responders. You may feel flustered from an accident, forgetting important details. Carry copies of medical records and allergies.

When Stranded

Stranded on a solo trip is a different predicament because you won’t have someone there to help.

Consider the driving conditions and the dangers they pose. Dangers increase during the winter (learn more) or when stuck in a massive rainstorm. Include items like splints or slings to reach a safe place until help arrives.

Better Safe Than Sorry

Like insurance, you may never need to use a car first aid kit. Yet, it’s one of those things that bring peace of mind if it happens. It’s better to be safe and prepared than left stranded and panicking.

Speaking of preparation: See our auto maintenance guides.

You can never be too prepared when you get behind-the-wheel!