If you live in an area of the country that is subject to ice and snow in the winter, it is crucial to prepare for survival situations. This year there have already been intense blizzard conditions in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho, and through the Midwest. The blizzard that slammed New England recently was the sixth worst to hit Boston since 1935. While the cause is in dispute, meteorologists agree winters are getting more brutal.
As long as you have power, you can snuggle down safely in your home. But what if you get stranded in your car?
Here are 7 things you can do now to ensure you survive being stranded in a vehicle during a blizzard:
1. Take your car in now for routine maintenance.
Ask your mechanic to check the fluids, and to be alert for hoses and belts that need to be replaced. Make sure your anti-freeze is still effective.
2. Make sure your tires are winter-ready.
Check your tire tread and air pressure. Many serious accidents happen when drivers hydroplane and lose control. Keep chains or snow tire socks in your trunk. Keep a bag of kitty litter or sand on hand, for traction. You may even want to purchase a set of traction aids to keep in the car.
3. Prepare for windshield visibility.
Install winter windshield wiper blades and fill the reservoir with washer fluid blended for use with ice and snow. Make sure to have a windshield scraper for ice and snow, along with chemical ice remover.
4. Keep your gas tank full.
If you get stuck somewhere on the road, you could be there for a while. Never venture out without a full tank. Before you head home from an errand, always top off your tank.
5. Set up options for communication.
Keep a cell phone charger in your car, and one or two extra batteries for your phone. Pack a mirror, a radio to call for help, and flares.
6. Keep a supply of water and food in your car.
If you are stranded, we hope you will be rescued within a few hours. However, there have been many cases in which people are stranded for three or four days, particularly in situations when a car has slid off the road into a ravine or a wooded area. Be sure you have enough nutrition for at least three days.
7. Keep emergency winter clothing in the car.
Store enough jackets, gloves, wool caps and socks, heavy boots and blankets for the whole family. Pack hand and feet warming packets. They can prevent frostbite and hypothermia.
If the worst happens, and you find yourself stranded in your vehicle during a blizzard, knowing you have prepared for survival will give you great peace of mind. You’ll be able to focus on how to communicate with the outside world and get help.
You will also have what you need at hand. Above all, remember that search and rescue experts always advice that you STAY WITH YOUR VEHICLE. The world outside is dangerous; many people have died of hypothermia attempting to walk out for help. Take these 7 steps in advance, be prepared, and survive.