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11 Things to Put in Your Car for Teenagers (Safety + Fun)

These things to put in your car for teenagers will not only help with safety, but also with responsible car ownership.

What should a teenager have in their car?

teen boy sitting in driver seat of car, smiling, text overlay

When I first got my car as a 17-year-old, my step-mother advised me about a few things to put in the trunk: a jug of water, a flashlight, and a blanket.

The idea was that this could help me survive getting stuck in a Northeastern storm for several hours or overnight (it was good advice – especially after recent news events).

In the last 22 years, I’ve owned cars, taken driver safety courses, operated a vehicle for the Texas government, and in general, learned a lot more about the best things to put in your car for teenagers.

And I’ve got a list of what you want to make sure your teenager puts into their car.

Things they likely haven’t thought about, but that could make a big difference.

Psst: stick around – you’ll definitely want to download, print out, and include my free car accident checklist in your teen’s glove compartment.

Things to Put in Your Car – Teenagers

We’re going to go over all of the important and helpful things to put in your car for teenagers to know about – ranging from safety items, to paperwork in the event of an accident or policy stop.

Here’s what we’ll go over:

  • Insurance & heath documents
  • Safety equipment
  • Checklists and parent-teen driver agreement
  • Weather equipment

So, buckle up (couldn’t help myself)!

1. Proof of Auto Insurance

There are several important documents that your teen needs to put and keep in their car (hopefully, at all times).

For example, every driver needs to carry around their proof of auto insurance. The glove compartment is a great place for this.

2. Teen Accident Checklist

I created a free printable checklist for your teen to print out, laminate (optional, of course), and keep in their glove compartment.

This is in case they ever get into an accident – it’ll walk them through the most important, then the next important things to do while on the scene, and a few of the steps to take once home.

Psst: here’s what to do when your teenager has a car accident.

3. Emergency Medical Information

You want your teen to keep any emergency medical information (such as an allergy to Penicillin, like I have) in both their wallet and in their glove compartment.

Both are prime spots for emergency personnel to search in the event of an accident or a situation while they’re at work, over at a friend’s house, etc.

Hint: this is also one of the most important things to keep in your wallet for teens.

4. Something to Write On (and Write with)

Yes, you can take photos with your phone. But, what if your teen’s phone dies, and they need to write down a license plate? Or someone’s phone number after an accident? Or auto insurance information? Or anything else?

Always a good idea to have a trust pad of paper and pen (a pencil, if you live in a cold climate, as pen ink can freeze) as a backup.

5. Parent-Teen Driver Agreement

It couldn’t hurt for the two of you to go over this free parent-teen driver agreement, and for them to keep a copy of it in their car.


Well, one of the reasons that came into my head is if they happen to have a passenger who doesn’t want to wear a seat belt (a semi-common occurrence among teen drivers/passengers), then they can take the pressure off themselves and simply show their passenger the agreed-upon terms for someone to ride in their car.

6. Charged Phone Battery/Car Charger

Some teens are notoriously bad at planning ahead. And one of the things that could fail on them in an emergency situation? Is a dead phone.

That’s why you might want them to keep a phone charger in their car, and/or a power bank.

7. A Roadmap

Include a roadmap – what happens if your teen’s smartphone dies and they’re traveling away from home?

8. Their Last Pair of Eyeglasses

Does your teen wear prescription eyeglasses and/or contacts? It’s a good idea to keep their old pair as a spare in their car.

That way, if they have a contact situation (contacts can tear, or become really uncomfortable, etc.) or break their eyeglasses while horsing around, they can still see to get home (unless, of course, their last pair of eyeglasses are not updated enough for them to see okay).

Now, let’s talk about a few things to keep in your teen’s trunk.

Things to Put in Your Teen’s Trunk

The trunk is a great place to stash a few items your teen might need one (and want) one day.

1. Weather Safety Pack

In case your teen gets stranded in cold conditions, overnight, they should have a warm weather safety pack in their trunk.

Include a blanket for warmth, a jug of water, flashlight with batteries, an ice scraper, a protein bar or something to snack on, etc.

2. Sports Equipment/Sledding/etc.

I’ve always found it helpful to keep a few pieces of equipment in my trunk in the event that I’m out and about and want to stop somewhere for an adventure.

For example, they could keep sunscreen and a hat in case they want to go for a hike. Or, a sled (I’ve actually got a sled in the back of my trunk right now!).

Or a volleyball, frisbee, or other piece of sports equipment they’d want if they get the spontaneous chance to play with someone. It could save them from having to pay for something again.

3. Car Safety Kit has a great list of what you should put in a car safety kit (whether you’re a teen, or adult).

Hint: instead of piecing one together yourself, you could buy a care safety kit like this one, which also comes with a first aid kit. It’s one of my favorite gifts for new teen drivers!

Here’s a few to get you started:

  • Jumper cables
  • Reflective triangles
  • Gloves
  • Etc.

What to NOT Put in Your Car as a Teen

One final note – there are a few things (and people) your teen should not put in their car, so let’s go over those now. For example, they should not keep their social security card in their glove compartment where a thief could get to it.

Also, your teen should also know that they should never drive a passenger that they don’t want to take responsibility for – both their safety, and their behavior.

Well, that’s the list of things to put in your car teenagers can really use as new drivers. Which of these does your teen already have in their car, and which do they still need? Does your teen not own their own car? Here’s my article on how to save up for a car as a teenager.

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Amanda L. Grossman is a writer and Certified Financial Education Instructor, a 2017 Plutus Foundation Grant Recipient, and founder of Money Prodigy. Her money work has been featured on Experian, GoBankingRates, PT Money,, Rockstar Finance, the Houston Chronicle, and Colonial Life. Amanda is the founder and CEO of Frugal Confessions, LLC. Read more here.