As the arctic weather bears down all over the US, I thought it appropriate to remind you of some Winter Weather Tips
The winter season brings plenty of joy and happiness, but it also can bring it’s share of tragedy. Every year, winter weather travelers find themselves broken down in terrible weather conditions. Fortunately most survive these dangerous situations, but a few are not so lucky. What sets those that survive and those that don’t apart? Often it is simply having the right knowledge and then acting on it.
If you broke down or God forbid got in an accident in freezing temperatures in the middle of nowhere, would you and your family know what to do?
First of all I hope you have a cell phone, AAA and already packed your car with a Winter Weather Survival kit.
If you are going no where fast, be sure to heed this advice:
Don’t Pretend to Be a Survival Expert
Even Survivorman will succumb to sub-zero temperatures and they have training, so what chance would you have? Understand that trying to be a hero can get you killed. Go with what you know and stick to the basic, safe decisions.
Stay in the Vehicle
Rule number one through ten is to stay in the car. Leaving the car and trekking into unknown territory is a recipe for disaster. If you are in the car, you are out of the elements and more easily recognized. Stick with your car.
Make your Car Visible
Put up your hood so people will understand you are broken down and tie something bright to your antennae. Every so often you should go out and sweep the snow away from your vehicle. This will help the car to remain visible to potential help in the air or on the ground. A snow buried vehicle will not be spotted anytime soon.
Run the Engine Sparingly for Heat
Hopefully your vehicle has plenty of gas since you were prepared from the other Winter Weather Safety topics we’ve discussed. If you keep your tank topped off, running the engine for about ten minutes of every hour will ensure that it lasts a good long time. The heat is vital, so be sparing with it. Use your blankets, coats & hats as much as possible to conserve gas.
Assume You are Going to Be There For A Long Time
If you are lucky enough to have food and water, ration it carefully. Assume you will need it over a long period of time and eat accordingly. Remember we said to pack high calorie foods because your body will burn LOADS of calories to keep warm. If you run out of water or drinks you can melt snow to drink. Melt it with matches and a small container or over a fire (if you are in a position to light one). This will make the snow safe to drink and will not lower your body temperature. Just eating snow is a bad move because it lowers your body temperature doing it so melt it and drink it.
Remember Sweat Means Wet
As you keep your car visible make sure to not strain yourself. Slow steps means that you stay dry. Dry means you stay alive. You lose heat 25 times faster when exposed to cold water than when exposed to cold air so your body cools super fast when it is moist. Sweat will make you wet so you want to avoid doing things that will make you perspire. Do everything with purpose, but always be mindful of your body.
Always Keep Windows Cracked
Ventilation is also very important in an abandoned vehicle that is running. Keep the windows cracked slightly and always keep the exhaust pipe clear from the snow. This is a very common way that people get hurt because carbon monoxide poisoning is silent and quick.
If you must sleep, do so in shifts. You need someone awake to keep the heat going and someone to notice if rescue comes near. Keep someone awake and alert at all times and check on one another regularly.
In the movies, John goes one way and Mary goes the other and they ultimately end up finding their way. In real life, John and Mary splitting up might get them killed. Never split up and always stay together in an emergency situation. You will be much better off facing challenges as a team then you would going solo.
I cannot stress enough how important that Winter Weather Car Survival Kit is, so start putting yours together now.