Several years back, my wife was driving alone leaving Dallas and got caught on the interstate in a giant sleet storm. An 18 wheeler ahead of her turned over and blocked both eastbound lanes and the shoulders. She was stuck in traffic. It kept sleeting and shut down nearly everything. Night time came with no progress of moving the semi. Of course she stayed where she and others were stopped with no place to go. Pretty difficult to drive or walk, she noted a few tried to "escape" during the night and wound up sticking their cars in the interstate ditches. She along with the other travelers stayed all night in their cars. Of course my wife wasn't prepared for this, but happened to have a coke and snack in her purse. The bathroom situation was difficult and we won't discuss that here.
I talked to her a couple of times on her cell phone, but her battery went out about 8:30 that night. What a miserable night we both spent, and me not knowing exactly where she was or the status of her well-being. It was a very helpless feeling especially after I made some calls out there to find out the roads into the area were all shut down. Essentially, no visitors. She borrowed a cell phone in a neighboring car the next morning to report she was fine. Eventually she got to moving and made it home without further incidence.
This weekend I was re-newing our "travel bags" that we keep in our cars. These are not to be confused with a bug-out-bags. The travel bag, stays in the car all the time, and it contains items that would be helpful, convenient, and maybe very necessary for the unexpected incident one may encounter while away from home and on the road.
I have a cheap $10 black bag from WM, and it contains a:
pancho and umbrella
brown cotton gloves (great for changing a tire when you need to stay clean, or just wear if caught in the cold)
kleenex (handy, cheap, uses no space)
small first aid kit (great for blisters, minor stuff)
hand cleaner (need to wash hands with no sink)
jumper cables (stranded for a long time anywhere is asking for potential trouble)
ele. tire air pump (same as jumper cables, plus it might prevent wife from having to change a tire)
windbreaker coat w/liner
large bottle of water
handcrank cell phone charger
small assortment of OTC meds
disposable paper coveralls
pair of cotton socks
car wreck pack (zip lock bag with assortment of gauze/heavy bandages, etc)
deck of playing cards
money (change and a few bills)
small hand towel (dry yourself a bit if drenched, etc)
As you can see there is a wide range of uses.....conveniences, boredom, roadside problems, weather, etc.
Some of my favorites is the cell phone charger, jumper cables, and tire air pump. These three helps us keep moving in our vehicle and I see that as a preventative in keeping a minor roadside problem from turning into something that causes us to be overly vulnerable.
Any other useful items?