Snow or extreme cold can both be dangerous for travelers, and I do a lot of driving. Not only that, but I drive thousand-dollar cars, so my chances of breaking down are better than most, even in fine weather. With that mind, I drive prepared to be stranded.
From January to March, you'll find a shopping bag in my backseat, with the following items:
My winter traveling kit
- Knit hat
- Wool sweater
- Half full jug of water
- Jar of peanut butter, with spoon.
You might wonder why you'd need water, but you can't always count on clean snow nearby; and if you are stuck in extreme cold, it's better not to get out of the car. It's far more dangerous in blizzards or extreme cold to go in search of help than to just hunker down and wait. Maine is not the Yukon, and you are not the Donner party. It will not snow forever. The State police will find you sooner than later.
The jug of water needs to be only half full, because when it is not busy saving your life, that jug is just going to be riding around in your car, repeatedly freezing and thawing. Water expands when it freezes; if the jug is full, it will split.
The peanut butter is another story. The suggestion I usually read is to keep a candy bar in your car for such emergencies, but I find the emergency that usually happens is, I really want a candy bar. I'd have to be awfully damn hungry to just start scooping peanut butter, if I had other options.
You want a book, because you may be stranded for hours, and you don't want to die of boredom before you are found.
My kit serves as a kind of talisman: whenever I have had it, I have not needed it. [Knocks wood]
Only nine weeks - probably - 'til first crocus! Stay safe, stay warm, drive carefully.