showing their preferred safety items for your car. I'll bet your great grandpa had a can of water and food in his Model A Ford, so let him know that you learned from his example and stock up.
Long before the internet, portable phones (ok, I'm dating myself here, but even before cable tv and cd's), I always believed that there were certain items that each of us NEEDED in our cars - and it's interesting to see how 40 years later, most of the essential items are the same. The bag full of Auto Club maps were replaced in the 1980's by Thomas Brothers maps books, and technology has pushed printed maps into yesteryear by the way of Google Maps, GPS technology and apps such as WAZE.
Here's what Road & Track suggests:
Tire Pressure Guage
First Aid Kit
Ice Scraper with Brush
Windshield Washer fluid
Window Breaker - Seatbelt Cutter
Flashlight (and spare batteries of course).
Added to this list in my opinion is a bag of clothes that includes extra T shirts, a roll up jacket, a warm hat, gloves, and a reflective safety vest. Also, in today's world, you absolutely need a portable charger for a smartphone - and an extra solar one as well (there are backpacks with solar storage and charging capabilities that are great - and cheap. You also need a multitool (with a knife, pliers, saw, etc.), a can of tire repair filler (this can get you home!), some glowsticks, and of course water, a water purifier, and some food (Protein bars, canned food with a pop-top lid) as well as pain pills (aspirin, Tylenol, Aleve, etc.....).
Many of these items can be purchased in a pre-sorted Bug Out Bag. And, depending on your commute, the more desolate it is, the more things you should bring - flare gun, weapon (as long as you are legally permitted to carry), and of course the types of supplies that your car needs to keep moving (coolant, oil, brake and transmission fluids). And not just for YOUR car - for every family member (and do you ever transport a pet in your car? You better have a number of cans of pet food too. Many of these food items are probably in your pantry as you read this, so just toss them in a bag and put them in your car. Buy now and eliminate the need to think about it again.