Throughout the United States each winter, people go out for a quick errand or attempt to drive home from work and end up stranded inside their cars for hours or even overnight due to unexpected road conditions. Here are some tips to survive an extended period stuck in your car in the winter.
Prepare in Advance
Certain items should be kept in your car at all times during the winter months. People often make the mistake of assuming they will only need these items if they are planning a big trip, but not if they are merely commuting to and from work. However, it is possible to get stuck for an extended period during a normal commute or errand and you will want to be prepared. Consider this your winter survival kit and make sure you are appropriately stocked.
- Bottled water
Snack foods such as granola bars, nuts and dried fruit
Extra warm clothes such as coats, mittens, socks and hats
Car charger for the cell phone
Before Heading Out
Make sure your car has over half a tank of gas and you bring a charged cell phone with you. If bad weather is predicted, verify that you really need to travel at this time. Consider whether your trip can wait until another day when the forecast is more promising. If you decide to go, make sure someone knows where you are going and when you anticipate returning.
If You End Up Stuck
Even if you make every effort to avoid getting stuck, it still may happen. Storms can be unexpected. Call for help as soon as you realize that you are unable to keep traveling. Stay with your car, as you are more likely to be found with your car than if you start walking around to find help. In addition, your car can help protect you from the weather. Run your car periodically to help keep yourself warm. Don't run it constantly, as you want to save gas as much as possible. Verify that the exhaust pipe is not blocked with snow and run the car for 15 minutes. Utilize your extra winter gear and blankets to keep warm. Ration your food and water supplies since you don't know how long you will be stranded.
If you have the right items on hand and the correct plan of action, you can survive your extended stay in the car and just end up with a story to tell friends and family.
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