Winter is no picnic when you have to drive in the snow and ice. Commutes to and from work can be frustrating and downright nerve-wracking when the drive is from one city to another. Lots of folks do it every day, though. (Bless you.) And, as we all know, when you’re on the road, anything can happen. The key is to be prepared with knowledge and tools. Those are things that will help you weather winter automobile emergencies like being stranded. It’s winter! Are you prepared?
Staff Sgt. Charles Dornford, who teaches cold weather survival in Alaska, says that having a Winter Survival Kit
in your automobile is absolutely necessary, if you live in an area where you get winter storms. You may never use it but don’t ever be in a situation where you wish you had it.
First off, you need to stay warm, obviously. If you took your gloves off to drive, now is the time to put them back on and any other winter accessories you might have shed, while driving. Now, that you’re bundled up, quickly get out and make sure your tailpipe is clear of snow. Then, you can keep your heater running in your car without fear of being poisoned by carbon monoxide. However, do turn your car off for periods of time to conserve gas. Also, periodically check to make sure that your tailpipe is still clear when you turn the engine back on. For those periods of time that you turn the engine off or if you’re stranded because you’re engine quit on you, the Emergency Survival Blanket
, that you pull out of your kit, will be crucial to help you retain your body heat. It will reflect about 90% of your body heat back to you. You should also move your arms, hands, legs and feet vigorously, about every hour, to improve your circulation
The second thing you need to do is to make sure that you stay hydrated because this will help you retain body heat, as well. Hopefully, you are in the habit of bringing a few bottles of water with you when you are commuting, whether it’s winter or summer. If you’re bottle water runs out or if you weren’t prepared with bottled water, you can melt snow, which can be a slow process but not impossible. It’s not recommended that you eat snow because it will lower your body temperature. So, what you need is a way to melt the snow, and to me, you need to be able to pull a Folding Pocket Stove
out of your kit that uses convenient, solid fuel tablets
. You also need to have weatherproof matches
and a small metal container, to melt the snow in. I like the One-quart Aluminum Canteen Cup
because you can put it right on your pocket stove and then, drink from it, too. Then, it can be paired with the One-quart Plastic Canteen
, which will fit right in the cup for compact storage in your vehicle. But any small metal container that will fit on your pocket stove will do. If you have a canteen, you can store the water so that you can waiter longer before you have to get back out of your car to melt snow to drink.
When you call for help, make sure that you describe as accurately as possible where you’re located and keep the calls short so that your cell phone doesn’t die. You can also send out texts and that will use less of your battery. You should always make sure that your phone battery is charged before you get in your car and go anywhere. Then, you need to make sure your vehicle is easy to find for rescuers. Flameless road flares are great before they’ll last for hours and hours. Turn on your hazard lights when you here rescuers nearby and, if at night, turn on your interior lights. Beware, however, of running your car battery down. My Night Watchman Stun Gun
, actually has a flashing red light and a siren built in, so, that’s an alternative option that I can use, if necessary. There’s no such thing as being over-prepared. Another good thing to have in your car is a piece of bright-colored plastic that you can hang out of your window or tie to your antenna. Just get one of those cheap plastic table cloths to keep in your vehicle’s survival kit.
It’s really important that you stay with your vehicle because it is your best shelter against the elements. Leaving it, should be a last resort. Most important of all is to stay calm and stay awake.