*Vehicle Winter Survival Information*
Winter weather survival includes being prepared for automobile accidents and weather induced delays. Accidents can be multi-vehicle, but frequently are one car accidents due to weather related road conditions, speeding and ice, and reduced visibility. Being prepared for winter conditions can make the difference between life and death if you slide off the road on a country highway.
Important things to remember:
Give your car a thorough pre-season check every fall. If you donít know how or donít have the time, have an automotive professional do it for you. Check fluid levels, wiper blade condition, belt condition, headlight and tail-lights, and similar items.
Be sure someone knows when to expect you to check in, and what route you will be taking. If conditions become dangerous and appear to be getting worse, STOP. If it is sensible to return the way you came, do so.
Always keep a full tank of gas, and refill often. A full tank of fuel will not "ice" up as readily as a partially full tank.
If you must use your car engine to heat the vehicle, always check to make sure the exhaust tailpipe is clear. A blocked tail pipe can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning and death. Be sure to open a window when you are running the car engine, and try not to run the engine over 10 minutes in every hour.
If you are in a vehicle that is disabled, use bright cloth or surveyor tape, available at hardware and home supply stores, to mark your radio antenna. If you slide off the road and can walk/climb to the roadway, tie markers to any highway signs that are close. A vehicle in the snow quickly becomes invisible unless you make an effort to be seen.
If you believe you are going to be stranded for a significant period of time in cold weather, place the emergency space blankets over the windows of your vehicle to reflect body heat and other heat back into the car. Most of the initial heat loss will be through the windows.
Your car windows will probably frost over on the inside due to condensation from breathing and water produced by the alcohol stove, if you are using one.
DO NOT leave your vehicle unless you can SEE a building to evacuate to, or it is unsafe to remain in your vehicle. If you are in an isolated area and there may be an air search, spread out the tarp on the ground outside to make you more visible from the air. If you need shelter, use rope and the tarp to make a tent. If you leave your vehicle to go cross country or down the road, leave a note in the vehicle so rescuers know which way to proceed.
If you must leave your vehicle and there is snow on the ground, use electrical tape to cover your sunglasses(or Rx glasses) leaving a narrow slit to look through. You can tape paper or something dark to the sides of your glasses to provide protection there as well. It is very easy to get a "sunburn on your eyes" when traveling in bright snow conditions.
If you leave your vehicle in white-out conditions, tie one end of your 100í cord to the car before leaving. It is very easy to become disoriented in a white-out.
Know the symptoms of hypothermia and frostbite. Be sure to wear a wool cap or other insulating hat to prevent heat loss. Be particularly careful with children, who arenít as aware of the danger they may be in or their body symptoms.
Suggestions for vehicle winter survival "kits"
Keep in trunk or back of SUV or pickup toolbox
Keep in vehicle
(We use a duffle to organize this material)
Survival kit in a day pack
There are as many survival kit suggestions as there are people, but this should make a good starting point. Items from sections above will be used to supplement this kit, and there is some duplication. There will be some extra room to carry clothing etc if you must evacuate from your vehicle. I suggest having an extra "flat" day pack for any passengers to share the load.
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