- Education and Science»
- Geology & Atmospheric Science
Get Through Any Disaster – What You Need To Know: Surviving The Cold III
If you have a vehicle and there is absolutely no option but to travel in it during bad winter weather conditions, make sure that you have adequate snow tires or chains, that the vehicle has been fully winterized, and that the fuel tank is filled to the brim at all times. Condensation in the empty part of the tank can get water into fuel and wipe out your engine. Don't ever travel during poor weather without a cell phone. Make sure that someone else knows where you are headed, what time you leave and what time you're set to arrive. Don't travel alone, ever!
Don't even consider getting into your vehicle in winter weather conditions without a winter car kit which includes:
- Booster cables
- Empty coffee can with a cover (to use as a toilet)
- Fire extinguisher
- First Aid Kit
- Flashlight with at least one extra set of charged batteries
- Fully charged cell phone
- Knife, preferably a Swiss Army type
- Matches and candles
- Non-perishable food which is high in nutrition and calories, such as trail mix, granola bars, nuts, etc.
- Paper towels and tissues
- Portable radio with at least one extra set of charged batteries
- Road maps
- Shovel and at least two sandbags
- Two tow chains at the very least: Four is better
- Variety of tools such as wrenches, screwdriver, pliers, etc.
- Warm clothing including mittens, caps, scarves, and boots, as well as a quilt-type blanket
- Windshield snow scraper
Even with all of the best preparations and precautions, it is still quite possible that you will be stranded and have to survive outdoors in the depths of winter. The most important thing to remember is to stay calm. If you keep your head, there will be no rush to escape from the situation immediately which can cause its own set of problems. You could get disoriented, face a whiteout condition, and really get into trouble. The first rule has to be to not leave the area where your vehicle is. Not only will it serve as a far better shelter from the elements and wild animals than anything you could build out of pine boughs or snow blocks, but it will be far easier for rescuers to see from the air than a lone person in the wilderness.
However, even in a car, you will still need a source of heat once the fuel runs out and your car heater stops. Gather as much fuel as you can during the daylight hours. Your fire should be built about six feet from the car, ensuring that it's downwind. The last thing you need is an ember setting your car on fire in the middle of the night. Try to build a "moist" fire in the daylight hours as the smoke will help attract rescuers.
Don't stay in any one position. Although no one is asking you to do jumping jacks in a -30 F blizzard, it will help your circulation and body warmth to clap your hands and flapping your limbs around periodically. Stuff your floor mats onto the upwind side windows. That will help keep out cold drafts. I don't care if you're in your new Bentley, feel free to rip out the headliner, seat covers, foam, anything that you can cover yourself with to stay warm. If you have any electricity left in your car battery, leave the dome light on at night. This will make your vehicle far more visible in the dark to rescuers. It would also be good, battery willing, to lean on the horn. In the middle of the winter in the woods, a car horn can be heard for a mile or more.