What to do if Trapped in Your Car During a Blizzard
Given the amount of long stretches of highway, rural roads and backwoods byways in Minnesota, it’s always smart to learn survival techniques if caught in blizzard conditions. Here are some techniques to take to heart if stranded in bad weather.
- Stay in the car. Do not leave the car to search for assistance unless help is visible within 100 yards. You may become disoriented and lost in blowing and drifting snow.
- Display a trouble sign. Hang a brightly colored cloth on the radio antenna and raise the hood.
- Occasionally run the engine to keep warm. Turn on the car’s engine for about 10 minutes each hour. Run the heater when the car is running. Also, turn on the car’s dome light when the car is running.
- Beware of carbon monoxide poisoning. Keep the exhaust pipe clear of snow, and open a downwind window slightly for ventilation.
- Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia.
- Do minor exercises to keep up circulation. Clap hands and move arms and legs occasionally. Try not to stay in one position for too long. If more than one person is in the car, take turns sleeping.
- For warmth, huddle together.
- Use newspapers, maps, and even the removable car mats for added insulation.
- Avoid overexertion: Cold weather puts an added strain on the heart. Unaccustomed exercise such as shoveling snow or pushing a car can bring on a heart attack or make other medical conditions worse. Be aware of symptoms of dehydration.
- Never give a frostbite or hypothermia victim something with caffeine in it (like coffee or tea) or alcohol. Caffeine, a stimulant, can cause the heart to beat faster and hasten the effects the cold has on the body. Alcohol, a depressant, can slow the heart and also hasten the ill effects of cold body temperatures.
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