Open a typical motorist's glove compartment and you will embark on a modern-day archeological dig, complete with such artifacts of the 1990s as a cold French fry or a Metallica tape. Of course, car makers designed glove compartments to carry useful things, particularly for emergencies. Here are 10 items that could help get you out a of jam.

Tire puncture sealant:
Some people consider these things a joke, but they do work well on tires that go flat from simple punctures. A can of sealant may very well get you off a dangerous freeway shoulder in a jiffy. Look for a big can with a screw-type connector valve.

A $10 bill: It will save your pride on a day when your wallet contains no cash.

Lug wrench: A spare tire won't do much good if you can't get the lug nuts off the flat tire. But the lug wrenches that come with many cars aren't big enough. Carry a full-sized wrench, sold at most discount stores or auto parts stores.

Spare key: Even geniuses sometimes lock their keys in their car or lose them. Instead of humiliating yourself by admitting to the act, buy one of those nifty magnetic key cases that hides a spare key under the car.

Jumper cables: It's amazing how often you will actually use or loan out these cables. They can be a lot quicker and cheaper than calling a tow truck. Be sure you buy a pair of high-capacity cables long enough for awkward situations.

Flashlight: These devices can help quite a bit in emergencies.

Tire gauge: At $100 a pop, good tires are worth caring for. You ought not rely on the gauges on service station air pumps. If you have a gauge, it's easy to accurately check your tires in the morning before driving causes the pressure to increase.

Candy bars: A few chocolate bars are useful if you get stranded some day or have to hike home 25 miles after an earthquake. The same goes for a quart of water. Also, in the category of the big hike, you ought to carry a pair of boots and an extra sweater.

First aid kit: Check it periodically to make sure contents are not dated.

Miscellaneous for the serious-minded: Disposable cigarette lighter, work gloves, rags, screw drivers, pliers, a few feet of electrical wire and duct tape.

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