Driving in a Winter Storm? What to Do If You Get Stuck
The recent spell of winter weather has caused some people to think twice about how prepared they are for getting stuck in a winter storm while out on the road. Some have already been caught unawares, while others have just heard stories of unlucky drivers stuck in snowy conditions. The hope is that you never end up being one of them, but if you are, it’s important to know what to do.
Visibility can be pretty rough in a winter storm, if there even is any. It’s important to do what you can to make yourself as visible as possible. If you can, tie a bright cloth to your antenna or door. Red is best, if you have it. Turn the dome light on while you run your engine at night. You can also honk SOS in morse code while your engine is running to try to alert rescuers. If the snow has stopped falling, popping the hood of your car can indicate to rescuers that you need help. Notify authorities with your cell phone if you can, giving them information about your location and situation.
Staying warm is important, but you need to be smart about how you do it. It all starts with the clothes you wear. Ideally, you should wear layers. That way you can retain body heat better, but you’ll be able to remove layers to avoid sweating, which will end up making you colder. Wrap up in blankets, if you have them. You can also preserve some heat by blocking off areas of the car that you aren’t using and insulating your windows with whatever you have on hand.
Be Smart with Your Car
Your car can help you, but only if you’re smart about how you use it. First and foremost, stay with your car. You can run it for about 10 minutes every hour to stay warm, but try to avoid it if the sun is out to preserve gas. If you do this, crack the windows for fresh air and do your best to keep the tail pipe clear. If snow is falling, you’ll probably have to clear it repeatedly. That will help you avoid suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Obviously, the best course of action is to not get caught out in a storm in the first place. That’s not always how life goes though. Knowing what to do if you get stuck while driving in a winter storm can make a world of difference in the outcome you experience. Make sure you’re prepared so that if you find yourself stuck in a storm, you’ll be in a good position to make it back out.