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Items to Keep in Your Car for Your Life on the Go

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Woman scraping snow from car


America’s culture dictates that people spend a lot of time in cars, whether for pleasurable events like road trips, vacations, and escapades or for daunting chores like commuting to work; fulfilling a long-list of errands; or attending kids’ interminable sports tournaments located cities or states-away. So, it makes sense that cars often become one or all of the following: medicine cabinet, closet, and diner.


For anyone who has taken a Saturday afternoon to clean out a car, it becomes clear quickly that most of the stuff that accumulates in a vehicle is unnecessary for surviving an emergency, taking care of an unexpected interior mess, or entertaining a whiny kid. And usually, the stuff is gross and has no purpose being in a car anyway.

So, exactly what items would be of actual use to regular travelers and their passengers?

According to the insurance experts at Nationwide, the must-haves that fit nicely into the glove compartment include: medical details such as a list of medications, medical conditions and allergies for everyone in the car, emergency contact numbers even if they are stored in a cell phone, paper and pen, the maintenance schedule, and the owner’s manual so you can decipher why your dashboard is lighting up like a Christmas tree. Proof of insurance is essential, too. A car’s title and registration should not be kept in the glove compartment, though; registration goes in your purse or wallet and the car’s title should be secured at home.

To round out the glove box inventory, Nationwide experts also recommend these items to keep within reach: a flashlight, plastic grocery bags, good-for-you snacks like protein or granola bars, napkins, tissues, travel wipes or baby wipes (they work on adults, too), and hand sanitizer.


Emergency kits; equipment for changing a tire; weather-specific tools like a shovel or ice scraper; and additional items your non-furry and furry family members might need like diapers or change of clothes, dog treats or water bowl probably fit better in the trunk.

According to, when packing or investing in a pre-made emergency kit, include or look for items such as band-aids, antiseptic, antibiotic ointment, bug spray, OTC pain reliever, cotton balls, gauze pads, tweezers, bandana, and Ace bandage. In addition, drivers might want to consider storing these items in their vehicle: a fire extinguisher, road flares, jumper cables, rain ponchos, tarp, more batteries for the flashlight, rags, duct tape, drinking water, and a multi-purpose tool. If cold and icy weather is an issue in your neck of the woods, remember to pack cat litter (for traction), blankets, and warm clothing.

News Sources: Nationwide,