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Winter Storm Survival Guide

In many parts of the country winter storms can hit suddenly and without warning. It’s best to stay indoors until the storm passes, but what if you’re already on the road when you find yourself in the middle of a bad winter storm? You may try to continue to your destination, only to decide that it’s safer to pull over and wait it out. What would you do next to ensure survival? Good preparation is the key and with that in mind here are some great tips on how to stay alive while stranded in your car.

Stay in Your Vehicle

It may be tempting to get out and try to walk to a warm, safe location but it’s very easy to get lost in a snow storm and in the meantime you will quickly lose precious heat. If you have extra coats, blankets or other clothing then quickly get them out of your trunk and get back in your vehicle. After layering up, keep your vehicle and precious heater running. Turn the radio on during this time so that you can listen to the weather and road reports. After ten minutes, turn off your car and wait for about an hour. Then you can start it up again and let it run for another ten minutes and so on.

Bundle Up

If you have passengers, get everyone to huddle up to conserve body heat. If you’re by yourself try to wrap up in what you can. Look for newspapers, magazines, floor mats or whatever you may have to keep warm.

Beware of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Roll your windows down, just a crack, to let in some fresh air and let out carbon monoxide. Also, make sure your tailpipe isn’t getting blocked by snow or anything else and check it periodically.

Keep a Watchful Eye Out For Hypothermia or Frostbite

When you get cold your body tries to keep your vital organs warm by pulling blood from your extremities. Check for numbness, especially in your fingers and toes, and monitor them closely. You should also focus on keeping your vitals warm by putting extra layers on your stomach and chest areas.

Keep Your Blood Moving

When you start feeling cold, try to get your blood moving by stepping outside, for a very short time, and doing some form of exercise. Try to use a full range of motion, but beware of really strenuous exercise, like pushing the car. This is especially true if you already have heart problems as the cold taxes your heart even more.

Stay Hydrated

If you have water with you, ration it out but drink it as often as you can. If you don’t have any water with you, try to melt some snow. DO NOT eat the snow as it will merely bring down your body temperature.

Being stranded in a bad storm is no laughing matter and can be a very scary experience. But, if you stay calm, keep your composure, focus on staying warm and use common sense you will most likely come through safely!


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