When my car was in the shop with power-steering issues, and I had one relative returned from rehab, another ill in bed, another recovering from leg surgery, and I was recovering from more distant knee surgery and my father from heart surgery, you could call us all the walking wounded.
Driving on American interstates during immense traffic jams is like WW1, in which they fought long battles for a few yards of ground. I have an idea for an invention--someone needs to devise a pan like the ones they have in hospitals for people who can't get up and go to the bathroom, but with a hose that can descend outside a barely opened car door, and with a cloth that drapes over the lap area, so people who are trapped in HUGE jams and can't leave the highway to go to the toilet can relieve themselves in situ.
Fortunately, I found an exit, which yielded the following observation: just as 'a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush', so also two small arches with food, a hot drink and an available toilet AT my exit is worth far more than one big arch far away in downtown St Louis closed and therefore without these available facilities. The Bible expresses the same thought thus: 'a living dog is better than a dead lion.'
A friend says, ‘Sad to say but you have been too sheltered along those lines…they DO have simpler containers for both sexes in most hospital supply stores or good drug stores....Many years ago, there were lots of Illinois corn fields where children/adults could pull over and go in some corn rows and 'inspect' the corn.’ Ah, but we are now in the Phone-Camera And Drones And Internet Era, therefore if a guy relieves himself Biblically ('against a wall') or people head for the bushes or cornfields, they can be on Youtube before they even return to their car. It brings a whole new meaning to the term 'live-streaming'.
About winter driving in the USA, I learned something new by experimentation: when the interstates are clogged up due to icy road conditions leading to accidents, don't try to bypass the interstate by taking a circuitous route through state highways to another interstate. Why? Because the interstates, due to the amount of traffic on them, are first priority, and the snowplows, etc, can't clear EVERYthing simultaneously, so lower-priority state highways are LESS likely to be cleared, so you're MORE likely to slide into the ditch or, God forbid, into another car. And if you do this on a remote, unfamiliar road, you might have trouble even telling police or automotive people where you are, and they might have trouble finding you or responding in a timely fashion. You're better off stationary on an interstate with lots of company waiting for the road to clear than you are on ice beside a lonely state highway, freezing to death while police, wreckers and ambulances try to find you. Some of you already knew all of this. My notice is for the people who are tempted to proactively try for a new, creative solution, which normally I totally agree with, but not in this case. If more experienced people have suggestions on dealing with the same situation, I'm sure the rest of us are eager to learn and stay alive. Obviously, if the highway department has actually blocked the interstate and told people to take another route, that's another matter.
A friend quotes, ‘A shortcut is the longest possible distance between where you are and where you want to be.’ Another friend suggests, ‘That's why I have a 4x4 and put weight in the back and carry chains and have a snow plow. So I pretty much go where I want. Advantage when roads are blocked.’ A third friend relates, ‘I used to drive a Dodge Ram 1500 4X4. It was great in snow. We had almost 2 feet of snow in Joplin once’ [this would be funny in Leadville, Colorado, where they had seven feet of snow at least one winter].
An Australian friend wants snow. I've not been to Australia, but it seems to me that they have enough venomous snakes and spiders and manta rays--in short, enough danger--without adding ice storms to the mix. Of course they also have the platypus, which lays eggs AND gives milk and so is the only animal able to make its own custard.