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Preparing You And Your Car For Roadside Winter Survival

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Winter Survival

Winter Survival

I grew up at the foot of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. Winter weather could be kind of crazy there, as storms could pop over the mountains, with hardly more than a moment’s notice. This happened so often that we’d say, “If you don’t like the weather, wait 10 minutes, and it will change.”

That actually gave me my first taste of a true winter survival situation. With furious winter storms popping up at a moment’s notice, people can easily find themselves in deep snow and far from home, even though it had been clear and sunny when they left their house just a short while earlier. I know, because I was one of those who got caught.

If there was ever a survival situation that requires preparation, it’s dealing with a sudden winter storm. Temperatures can drop extremely quickly, roads can become blocked and you can find yourself suddenly off the road in a snow bank. If that happens at night on a little used stretch of country road, you might end up being there for a while, before anyone finds you. Take out phone service at the same time, and you’re in an even bigger mess.

There’s two parts to preparing for such a winter survival situation. The first part is preparing the car itself. Winter weather is hard on cars, and you want to make sure that your car is going to keep running. The second part is preparing the necessary survival supplies so that you can survive while you’re awaiting rescue.

Prepare the Car for Winter Survival

You’re much more likely to have a problem with your car in the winter, especially if you haven’t prepared it. While there are not all that many things to prepare, you want to make sure you do them all.

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Preparing a Winter Survival Kit

Now that your car is ready to survive the cold and help you survive it as well, there are a few other winter survival supplies that you should pack along to make your life a little easier, while you’re waiting to be rescued.

A great way to do this is to use a military-style ammo can for your car survival kit. You can make a multi-wick candle in the bottom of the ammo can and then put your other survival supplies on top of it. That way, it’s all together in a waterproof container. Your kit will need:

You don’t want to get out of the car for anything. Store your winter survival supplies inside the car, rather than in the trunk. It can snow hard enough at times that you could try going to the trunk, fall down, and not be able to find your way back to the car.

If you have enough gas, your engine will start and your tailpipe isn’t plugged with snow, you can use your car’s heater to help keep warm. But don’t run it continually, as you’ll probably run out of gas. Instead, run it 10 minutes and then shut it down for 15. In this way, the engine won’t get cold enough that you have trouble getting heat out of it. While this won’t keep the car totally warm, it will keep it warm enough for survival.

In a real pinch, you can burn the spare tire. While this requires getting out of the car, you have to trade off that risk with freezing to death. Don’t burn the tire in the car, but rather open a door on the downwind side and burn it there. You can make a heat reflector out of a space blanket to capture as much of that heat as possible.

Finally, always dress for colder weather than what you are expecting. If it is winter, take along a hat, gloves and a warm coat, even if the weather forecast says “sunny and warm.” You just might need that coat — and not having it could be catastrophic.

What are your winter car survival tips? Leave them in the section below: