Well, hundreds of New York State Thruway drivers in the Buffalo area, including many who were probably just driving across town on "the 90," found themselves stranded for hours last night, even overnight, thanks to lake effect snow closing several miles of the Interstate.
So, what's in your car? Do you have emergency provisions that would let you survive twelve hours stuck on a frigid highway? Or, even worse, a few days in a ditch where no one can see you right away? If you can't easily get out of the car, is your stash reachable from the inside?
Some bottled water and granola bars would seem to be a bare minimum. There's always a few bottles of water in my trunk, and sometimes a box of granola bars; I'm going to put a couple bars in the glove compartment tomorrow morning.
How about warmth? A night on a snowy Interstate could get chilly. If you can run your engine, you'll be glad you started with most of a tank of gas. There's always a sleeping bag in my trunk, but it occurs to me an emergency mylar blanket, or "space blanket," wouldn't be a bad idea. These have been available for decades, and are smaller than a paperback. A couple of chemical hand-warmer packets in the glove compartment wouldn't be a bad idea, either, in case you can't run the engine. Propane heater? Probably overkill -- and would be dangerous in a closed car, anyway.
What am I forgetting? And while the subject's on my mind, Brian's home preparedness article is timely as winter approaches.