by Tess Pennington, Ready Nutrition:
With the unusual winter weather that many parts of the country are experiencing, driving conditions will be harsh and potentially dangerous. Moreover, getting stranded in your vehicle could become a very real threat, especially if you are traveling in isolated parts of the country. If this happens, you have a potentially dangerous survival situation on your hands.
Most people’s instinct will tell them to leave the car and go for help. If you are in a desolate area, you may not know how far help is and leaving your car will expose you and could get you lost in the wilderness if you don’t know where you are going.
6 Critical Tips You Need to Know In Order To Survive Being Stranded in Your Car in Freezing Temperatures
OK, let’s put your survival know-how to the test. Here’s the scenario:
At 3 p.m., a last minute work order has requested you to deliver some equipment but you must drive through a remote area where the road’s elevation is between 4,000 and 4,500 feet. The road is infamous for people who don’t know the area to take in the wintertime and get stuck, but you’ve driven it a few times and feel confident you can make it before dark. Before you set out, you turn on your GPS on your cell phone just in case. You’ve also checked the weather station, which turns out is calling for unexpected snow flurries in the area, but you’re on a deadline and will drive very carefully.
Not a lot of people are driving on the road and you wish you could be at home too. The snow has been coming down for most of the trip making the roads slick. An hour into driving, you unknowingly make a wrong turn and end up on a remote logging road. The snow is really coming down making it difficult to see and you are losing daylight fast.
You curse your GPS for not telling you where to turn but realize you’ve lost signal and have no idea where you are. You decide to turn the car around and go out the way you came. As you get to the edge of the road, you lose traction and slide into a snow bank.
As you try to free the car from the snow bank, the car won’t budge. You feel yourself panicking as you weigh all the problems – you’ve taken a wrong turn and are on a remote logging road, no one is in sight, you’re stuck in a snow bank and it’s dark outside.
How to Survive Being Stranded in Your Car in Winter
So, what would you do if you were in this situation? Do you have the skills to get out alive?
Let’s look at some considerations to keep in mind:
- Keep calm. In this type of situation, you could be stranded for hours or in some cases, days. Mental preparedness is key and you must think rationally and logically. This is easier said than done when you’re in a survival situation.
- Stay in your car. Above all, exposure will be your greatest threat. Survival experts stress that it is easier for authorities to find you in your car than find you wandering in unknown territory.
- Have a vehicle preparedness kit. This emergency kit should reflect the season your area is experiencing and the terrain you are driving through. In winter, you want to have preps on hand to keep the core body warm. Items like a whistle, brightly colored rag or ribbon, thermos, hand warmers, emergency blankets, emergency beacon, a first aid kit, and flashlight. For a more in-depth article on critical items to carry in your vehicle, click here.
- Have survival food and water in the car at all times. Keep the basics in mind for food and water. Snow can be melted for water (have a portable water filter in your preparedness car kit. Protein bars, MRE’s or easy survival foods can be utilized for this emergency situation.
- Make your car visible. Have a bright colored rag or ribbon and tie it onto your car so that search parties can find you. Even using a reflective sun shade could help alert authorities to your whereabouts.
- Run your vehicle every 10 minutes. If your gasoline amount allows, run your vehicle to stay warm. You can bring heat to the interior of the car and charge your cell phone at the same time. Note: Make sure the exhaust pipe of the car is unobstructed from snow. If snow is covering the pipe, this could cause exhaust fumes to enter your car and cause health issues.
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