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How To Survive A Snowstorm In Your Car

November 7, 2023 by Steven M. Gursten

How to survive a snowstorm in your car

The best way to survive a snowstorm in your car is to be prepared and have a plan for what to do to keep you and your family safe. Your snowstorm safety plan should include: (1) emergency supplies; (2) remaining inside your vehicle; (3) staying warm; and (4) being able to call and signal rescuers for help.

All of this starts with knowing how to drive safely during the winter and in whiteout conditions. This may help you from getting stranded in your vehicle during a snowstorm to begin with. It can also help you get to safety once a snowstorm or whiteout conditions have let up enough that you can get back on the road.

Emergency supplies for how to survive a snowstorm in your car

The most important emergency supplies you will need to survive a snowstorm in your car include: (1) warm clothing; (2) work gloves; (3) reflective clothing in case you must exit your vehicle; (4) blankets and sleeping bags; (5) non-perishable food and snacks; (6) water; and (7) a flashlight with charged batteries.

Other important emergency supplies to help you survive a snowstorm in your car include: (1) a cellphone and charger; (2) a snow shovel; (3) ice scraper; (4) sand in case your vehicle gets stuck in the snow; (5) jumper cables; (6) flares; (7) a first-aid kit; (7) candle and matches; and (8) extra boots, mittens and hats.

Drive with a full tank in case you are stranded in your vehicle during a snowstorm

If you must drive when the dangerous winter weather is forecast, make sure to have a full tank of gas in case you are stranded in your car during a snowstorm. Depending on how long you are stranded, you may need to run your engine to keep your battery charged and heating system functional in your vehicle.

Remember, if a snowstorm is so bad that your vehicle gets stuck, then the snow accumulation and winter conditions will also likely be too treacherous for an ambulance or first-responders to reach you quickly. Obviously if you have been injured from an automobile crash in dangerous winter conditions, this can cause dangerous and significant medical delays.

Staying inside your vehicle is how to survive a snowstorm in your car

Staying inside your vehicle is an important way to survive a snowstorm in your car. Your vehicle provides the most effective protection against both the effects of the cold weather (such as hypothermia and frostbite) and against the danger of being struck and injured by another vehicle.

As an auto accident attorney, I have been involved in too many cases where people were struck and either injured or killed after they got out of their vehicle. Sadly, it is not uncommon for people to be hit by a vehicle while standing by their own vehicle after an automobile crash. In winter snowstorm conditions, it is very easy for a vehicle to slide on ice and snow, and if this is going to happen you are always safer being in the vehicle than you are being outside of it.

Limited visibility is also a common reason for why vehicles in snowstorms and in whiteout conditions will lose control and strike a pedestrian or a person standing outside his vehicle.

The only reason that you may justify briefly exiting your vehicle is to check to make sure that your tailpipe is not obstructed so that neither you nor your occupants are at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning caused by exhaust fumes entering the passenger compartment.

However, if there is a gas station or safe shelter nearby where you can warm up, you may and probably should consider exiting your vehicle to travel there, but only if you are certain that the vehicle traffic around you is completely and safely stopped. The point is never to stand close to your vehicle when you exit it.

How to keep warm when you are stranded in your vehicle during snowstorm

To keep warm when you are stranded in your vehicle during a snowstorm, you can run your engine and heating system for 10 minutes which will generate enough warmth to last an hour. To maximize your body heat, sit close to other occupants, hug your chest, and put your hands under your armpits.

To help survive a snowstorm in your car be sure to refrain from running your engine for no more than 20 minutes per hour. Because you do not know how long you will be stranded, you will want to preserve your fuel.

Caring for yourself and others is how to survive a snowstorm in your car

To survive a snowstorm in your car, you and other occupants must care for yourselves as closely as you can to how you normally would, which means eating in small amounts to keep your energy level up and drinking bottled water to stay hydrated.

Good food to consider packing and having on hand – just in case you’re stranded in your vehicle during a snowstorm – are foods that are high in fat and carbohydrates, such as nuts, candy bars and chocolate.

It also very important to move your body. At least once an hour, stretch to keep warm and keep your blood flowing.

Limit your cell phone use

To help you survive a snowstorm in you car it is important that you resist the temptation to use your phone to pass the time when you are stranded in your vehicle. Listening to music, watching videos or checking social media will run down your battery’s charge, which you may need to call for help and to communicate with loved ones.

What if you have pets in the vehicle with you?

Although pets such as dogs and cats have fur to keep them warm, they are still vulnerable to the damage that cold weather can bring if they are with you when you are stranded in your vehicle during a snowstorm. Pets can suffer from hypothermia and/or frostbite.

To help your pets survive a snowstorm in you car it is important to keep them warm by huddling close together and covering them with a blanket or some other form of insulation. Having an extra doggie jacket or boots in the vehicle will be helpful.

Making yourself visible to rescuers to survive a snowstorm in your car

To survive a snowstorm in your car, you must make yourself visible so rescuers will notice you and come to your aid. Start by tying a red or brightly colored cloth to your door or antenna. Turn on your dome light at night when you are running your engine. If the snow has stopped, then raise your hood.

Injured in an automobile crash? Call Michigan Auto Law now!

If you were injured in a winter automobile crash, call Michigan Auto Law now (800) 968-1001 for a free consultation with one of our experienced lawyers. There is no cost or obligation. You can also visit our contact page or use the chat feature on our website.

Michigan Auto Law is Michigan’s largest and most successful law firm that specializes exclusively in helping people who have been injured in auto accidents.

Our secret? Our attorneys deliberately handle fewer cases than other personal injury law firms.  This allows us to focus more time and attention on our cases.

Unlike other law firms, our attorneys are never too busy to promptly return phone calls and answer questions. 

We have more than 2,000 5-Star reviews that reflect this care and attention to detail.

More importantly, this client-focused approach leads to better and faster settlements for our clients. Michigan Auto Law has recovered more million-dollar settlements and trial verdicts for motor vehicle accidents than any other lawyer or law firm in Michigan. We’ve also recovered the highest ever reported truck accident and car accident settlement in the state.

Call now so we can start making a real difference for you.

How To Survive A Snowstorm In Your Car

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