3 Winter Survival Tips For Getting Stranded In Your Car

If you plan on driving your vehicle at all this winter, you need to know some winter survival tips for getting stranded in your car. Once those temperatures drop and the snow turns to ice, it’s very easy to get stuck in a life-or-death situation.Ideally, you’ll be able to call for help when this occurs. But if it’ll take a long time for help to arrive – or if you have a dead phone – you need to figure out how to stay alive. And fast.Thankfully, we’ve got these…

3 Winter Survival Tips For Getting Stranded In Your Car

The Delicate Balance Between Heat & Gas

One of the biggest issues in this type of situation is trying to balance the need of getting warm with the very limited resource of gasoline. With only so much gas in the tank (and thus limited time for you to stay warm) you’ll need to figure out how to keep yourself warm with and without this resource.

Obviously, you’ll want to turn on the car so your heater will work. But you’ll want to do so as efficient as possible to help you survive the longest.

One of the best ways to “get the most bang for your buck” is to turn the car heater on at full blast for 10 minutes. Then turn it off. Do this once every hour. It may not be comfortable, but doing this can help a lot when you’re in survival mode.

You’ll also want to make sure to prevent dying from carbon monoxide poisoning. This can happen since your car’s engine gives off carbon monoxide in the exhaust. If the vehicle stays running without moving, this carbon monoxide can build up and poison you.

To precent this from happening, make sure to clear your exhaust pipe of any dirt, debris or snow. Otherwise, if it’s blocked, this will cause it to build up faster.

You may also get the urge to crack the windows. However, this isn’t necessary – especially since you’re only running the car for 10 minutes at a time. Not to mention, doing this can let out all that hard-won heat you’ve been accumulating.

How To Signal For Help Without Using Power

It’s imperative that you signal for help if you’re stranded on the side of the road. However, you’ll want to do this without wasting precious power. And, unfortunately, turning on your hazard lights is a good way to drain your battery.

One of the easiest DIY ways is to to make a flag out of a piece of brightly colored material or clothing. You can also do this out of reflective tape (or add the tape onto the cloth flag). You can then tie the bright piece of material onto the radio antenna of your car, or onto the windshield wipers after flipping them up.

How To Insulate Your Vehicle

So if you’re only running the heat for 10 minutes at a time, you’re going to need to do what you can to stay warm for the other 50 minutes in each hour.

One of the best ways to do this is by insulating your vehicle from the inside. Use clothes, blankets, magazine/book pages, newspapers…. any “junk” left in your car that you can find. Bubble wrap, aluminum foil and cling wrap are also good options.

Tape these to the windows and around the car doors to insulate your vehicle. This will help you stay a lot warmer when the car isn’t running.

How To Prepare

Although the above survival tips are helpful, nothing beats being prepared ahead of time for this kind of emergency.

Here’s a few survival tools to keep in your vehicle to help you prepare for being stranded on the side of the road. This is NOT a comprehensive list, but it’s a great starting point for getting ready for winter.

  • Survival food
  • Emergency water
  • Hand warmers
  • Fire starter
  • Extra gasoline
  • Spare tire
  • Blankets
  • Heavy clothing (sweatshirts, wool socks, etc)
  • Power bank
  • Flashlight
  • Jumper cables or Pocket charger (to charge the car without needing another vehicle)
  • Signalling devices (triangles, etc.)

Being stuck on the side of the road can be deadly. But it doesn’t have to be if you get ready for it ahead of time. Remember, the more you Prepare Now the more likely you’ll Survive Later!

1 Response
  • Cheryl Wilkinson
    October 23, 2018

    Most cars have a vanity mirror attached to the visit. You can use this to signal for help. Either remove the mirror from the visor, you can glue it back later. Or, just remove the whole visor with the mirror attached.
    Also, carry a few emergency candles with you. They can provide a little bit of heat. Just be careful you don’t tip it over. A good way to avoid tipping over the candle, or getting melted wax on your upholstery is to place the candle inside a can.

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