You can plan, you can prepare, you can do everything you can to make sure your vehicle has everything it needs to safely navigate severe weather conditions including blizzards and ice storms. But even after all of that, someday you might find yourself stuck in your vehicle during a snowstorm. Never fear! We compiled some of the best tips on how to stay safe in a snowbound situation. Thanks to AAA for some of these great ideas.
First thing’s first. It’s natural to feel scared and panicked and to and have a million thoughts running through your head. Take a breath and assess your situation. Do you have a cell phone? A CB radio? The faster you make contact with another human, the faster you’ll find safety.
Do everything you can to protect yourself from hypothermia and frostbite. Use anything and everything available to keep warm and insulate your body from the cold. We’re talking newspapers, floor mats, paper maps… anything. Do you have snacks or emergency food in the car? If so, eat them. High-energy foods can help keep your body warm from the inside.
Stay With Your Vehicle
This is very, very important. Your car will provide shelter and can make it easier for rescuers to locate you. Never try to walk for help during a severe storm. You could lose sight of your car in the blowing snow, and get lost.
Don’t Over Do It
If for whatever reason you have to try to push or dig out your car, don’t over exert yourself. The last thing you need when trapped in a snowstorm is a thrown-out back or other injury.
If you have a brightly colored cloth, tie it to the antenna of your car. Or, place a cloth at the top of a rolled up window to signal distress. If it’s dark out, keep the dome light on. It only uses a little bit of electricity and will make it easier for rescue workers to find you.
Make sure the exhaust pipe is clear and not clogged with ice or snow. A blocked exhaust can cause deadly carbon monoxide gas to leak into the car while the engine is running.
Only run the engine and heater long enough to warm up the car a bit. This will help conserve gasoline, and is safer in general.
Of course, the best way to avoid becoming snowbound in your car is to avoid driving during severe weather. If you’re taking a long trip, check the weather reports far in advance so you can get an idea of what’s expected. If you absolutely have to drive, be sure to let others know your route and estimated time of arrival so they can help if something doesn’t seem right. Also, always keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid a frozen gas line.
Before a winter storm hits, be sure to schedule an appointment at a Sears Auto Center near you to make sure your car is as safe as possible. And remember, drive slowly on those winter roads! For more information on driving safely in the winter, visit AAA.