How to survive a blizzard in your car

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Car during a blizzard
Pack plenty of supplies in your car to survive during a blizzard
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Learn tips on how to survive a blizzard in your car

If you live in snow-prone area of the country, you know that blizzards can be hazardous. This is particularly true if you are driving and have the misfortune of getting caught in a blizzard. It's quite a dangerous situation and it's important that you learn how to survive a blizzard in your car.

As the saying goes, "Be prepared." Don't wait until you find yourself in this situation. At the start of the snow season you should prepare your car for such a contingency.

Stock your car's trunk with the following items:

  • flares/reflectors to alert other motorists and to assist rescue teams
  • emergency kit
  • shovel to free your car from a snow drift

The Department of Public Safety and the American Red Cross advise including the following items as well:

  • a bag of kitty litter or sand for traction
  • a flashlight with spare batteries
  • blankets and/or sleeping bags (enough for you and your passengers) and large plastic bags for additional warmth (don't put plastic over someone's face)
  • extra clothing including warm gloves or mittens and warm head covering
  • a 3-pound empty coffee can, candles and matches, for melting snow plus non perishable high-calorie food as well as a metal cup and a knife
  • a whistle to alert rescuers

Note:  It's better to be overstocked with supplies than to not have enough for everyone!

Although not listed on the published suggestions, be sure to have your cellphone (charged) with you and, if possible, a car adaptor for recharging, so you can alert authorities as to your location. A compass is a good idea also.

Also, always try to keep your gas tank full. You never know when you're going to need every last drop of gas to survive when you're stuck in your car during a blizzard.

Other tips:

  • Try not to travel alone, especially in unfamiliar places.
  • Let someone know your timetable and primary and alternate routes.
  • Fully check and winterize your vehicle well before the winter season begins. Be sure the tread on your tires is good enough to last throughout the season

Follow these recommendations and you'll know how to survive a blizzard in your car:

  • Retrieve your emergency/survival gear/food from the trunk and keep it in the car.
  • Stay in your car. If you're stranded during a blizzard, you should stay with the car, but if you have to move even a few feet away, you might need a rope attached to you and to the car to find your way back.
  • Start the car and run it for only 10 minutes every hour to keep it warm enough yet safe from carbon monoxide poisoning; keep the overhead light on when the engine is on and attach a red bandana for visibility; and keep moving to keep your circulation going. You can even charge your cell phone during these intervals.
  • Ventilation. The American Red Cross Web site also recommends keeping slightly ajar a window on the side of the car affected least by wind.
Now that you know how to survive a blizzard in your car, drive safely and good luck!

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