Trapped In Your Car: Could You Survive A Winter Emergency?


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How many stories do you remember of people being trapped in their cars during Winter storms? I can recall quite a few. Every year the news reports several of these stories.

One that comes to mind quickly is the guy who ran off the road and into a snow bank. The best I remember he was there almost two weeks before they found him. He was alive!

He'd survived off eating mints he had in the console, crumbs he dug out of the seat and old packets of ketchup and mustard he found below the seats. He also melted snow for drinking water.

Now I don't know about you, but that's not my idea of a fun.

With a little planning and preparation, you can be prepared should you ever be involved in a survival situation during Winter. You should have a kit prepared and be knowledgeble about using it.

Here is a partial list of the items that should be kept in your car during the Winter.

  • First Aid Kit
  • Tire Chains
  • Freeze Dried Foods, nuts, cereals
  • Shovel
  • Flashlights & Batteries (yes, more than one)
  • Several Heavy Blankets
  • Cold Weather Sleeping Bag
  • Extra Newspapers
  • Extra Cold Weather Clothes like gloves, hats, etc
  • Matches and a Butane BBQ lighter
  • Booster Cables
  • Brightly Colored Cloth, preferably Blaze Orange
Why didn't I mention bottled water or canned food?

Because these things can freeze. I would store a couple gallons of bottled water behind the car seat. Try pouring about a 1/4 out because if the water freezes, it will bust the jug if there is no room to expand. The same is true for some canned foods. It's better to have the water and canned food in a kit by the door and take them with you whenever you head out. Don't forget to put a non electrical can opener in your kit.

This may seem like a lot of things to carry around but its not. Many of these things can be stored in a nylon tool bag in the back floor board.

If you do find yourself snow bound or otherwise stranded in Winter, be careful about running your vehicle to stay warm.

You should only start the vehicle for 10 minutes or so every hour. Check and make sure the tail pipe is clear. If the tial pipe and muffler are buried beneath snow, don't run your vehicle.

Carbon Monoxide is an odorless, tasteless and sightless gas that will kill you. If Carbon Monoxide can not escape into the open air, it will filter back up into the car where your at. You'll likely get drowsy and doze off, never to awake again. Keep those mufflers and tail pipes clear!

Don Lawson is the ‘Tool Guru’ at You can find the full article on Winter Safety Tips and Tools to prepare your home for Winter on the website.


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