"1.Always, ALWAYS carry a new, undamaged nylon tow strap (hooks on both ends and rated for much more than your vehicle's weight). This is so kindly 4WD trucks can snatch you from distress."
Eric, I'm one of the kindly 4WD trucks that occasionally snatches sedans (but more often other 4WD trucks...) from distress. As someone who has performed many dozens, perhaps even a hundred vehicle recoveries, my advice is to carry a nylon YANK strap, not a tow strap, and even more importantly, carry one WITHOUT hooks on the ends. Simple nylon loops are much preferred.
The yanker or "snatch" strap rather than a tow strap because the snatch strap is specifically designed to yield and rebound on shock loading for snatching vehicles from distress. Tow straps are specifically designed NOT to yield making the recovery process significantly more violent and likely to damage both vehicles but especially the stuck sedan. Also, snatch straps are typically rated for much higher working load limits than tow straps.
Good snatch straps don't have hooks on them though, only cheap crap straps have hooks. For the simple fact that should the strap break (which they do, all too often), a hook on the end can become a dangerous missile.
As a kindly 4WD truck owner I carry a full array of recovery gear and so don't depend on the stuckees (usually cheap/dangerous) straps. I carry high quality ones. But the single biggest problem with most vehicles I stop to help (and I ALWAYS stop if at all possible), is a lack of suitable recovery point. All too often on todays cars, there simply isn't anywhere to easily attach a strap that isn't likely to damage the vehicle when pulling force is applied. Often, either myself or the owner ends up covered in muck and wet from climbing around under the vehicle attaching the strap to an axle or frame member. Not uncommonly though, due to angles and lack of attachment point, I can't pull a stuck sedan out of a ditch without damaging it. Just have to get a wrecker on the scene that can gently lift without a straight hard pull.