Essential safety items recommended for every vehicle

As drivers, we are aware that we should carry some essential items in our car at all times, more during winter driving. But, as our vehicles become more reliable, we don’t always do what we know we should. It isn’t much of a problem until we need it — then we pay the price for our neglect.

A survey of over 2,000 U.S. drivers performed by Siegfried & Jensen, a local Utah law firm specializing in auto crashes, found that more than six in 10 Americans (62%) believed they were prepared if their car were to break down on the road. However, people only carry just four of the eight emergency items recommended by DMV.org “as a minimum;” this is in spite of the fact that that almost half of all drivers in the U.S. (45%) have broken down at least once in the last five years — a figure that rises to 51% among millennial drivers aged 16 to 34.

Although three quarters of drivers (73%) keep a spare tire and/or tire inflator sealer in the car, just half (51%) have a flashlight, 45% have a first aid kit and just 12% have flares — important not only to mark your car’s location in the case of an accident, but also to start fires in an emergency.

The items are just the essential things to carry in your car at all times. In winter, you should also carry a small shovel, thermal blanker of some kind, an ice scraper/snow brush, washer fluid, cat litter in case you get stuck, and a cell phone, although you may not always have service.

Other items good for any time include a tow rope, duct tape, reflective triangle, WD-40, fire extinguisher, and a Hi-Viz bib. You may have other items that you consider important — the above lists are certainly not all-inclusive.

Since the Siegfried & Jensen survey found that over 60 percent of American drivers believed they were prepared, where do you stand? Are you prepared?

Safety items to keep in your car

Below is a breakdown of the percentage of drivers who keep each of the eight minimum recommended items in their car:

Item Percent of those prepared

Spare tire and/or tire inflator sealer 73%

Tire changing tools 68%

Jump leads/cables 58%

Torch/flashlight 51%

First aid kit 45%

Water bottle 42%

Tool kit 39%

Flares 12%

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