Few people like driving through a snow storm, and most heed warnings to stay off the roads when a storm is bearing down. But even the best-prepared and expert drivers can get stuck. If it happens to you, here are some important reminders:
Be prepared. While the best first step is prevention, some storms come on quickly. If you do get stranded, keeping a few essentials in your car can help keep you comfortable while you wait. Some useful items to keep on hand include an ice scraper and brush, drinking water, blankets, and high-energy, nonperishable food.
Stay inside. If possible, pull off the highway and turn your hazard lights on or tie something bright to your car’s antenna to signal that you need help. Then wait inside your car until help arrives to avoid exposure to frostbite and hypothermia.
Call 911. If you have a charged phone and reception, call for help and describe your location as best you can.
Clear the tailpipe. Make sure there’s no snow covering your tailpipe in order to prevent carbon monoxide buildup inside the car. Check the tailpipe periodically to ensure that fresh snow isn’t blocking it, always watching for oncoming traffic before exiting your vehicle.
Keep moving. Staying active inside your car will help you keep warm. Clap your hands and tap your toes to keep your circulation moving and prevent frostbite.
Drink up. Dehydration can make you more susceptible to the effects of cold. If there’s no drinking water inside your car, melt some snow inside a bag or other makeshift cup to stay hydrated.
Rev your engine. Provided you have enough gas in your tank, run the engine for about 10 minutes every hour to keep the car warm. Turn on interior lights when your engine is on so you can be seen inside your car.
Don’t overexert yourself. Cold weather puts your heart under added stress. If you’re not used to exercise, shoveling snow or pushing a car could put you at risk of a heart attack.