Is Your Car Winter Safe?
Are you prepared for an emergency if your car is stuck in a winter situation? To find out you should ask yourself a few questions: Do I have shoes and socks appropriate for winter travel? How will I stay warm if I have to remain in the car for an extended period? Do I have water, food, how do I get it? How do I make the most efficient use of the fuel available in the car? How do I make myself visible to searchers?
A small inexpensive kit of survival gear should be in every car that you expect to drive in winter conditions it can be packed in an old duffle bag, stuff sack, or pillow case with a draw string fed into the top edge. Suggested items to include are:
Comfortable walking shoes, preferably boots, along with warm socks. Worn out boots work well, they may not be good enough for daily wear but they will work in an emergency. Besides they were due to be thrown away anyway.
Old blankets, preferably wool or acrylic (still warm when wet) should be included. These are not only good for warmth but can keep that bag of potting soil from spilling all over the trunk! Old sleeping bags work well also.
Old jackets and snow suits are also a good addition to the kit. If you have choices choose the largest available size clothing. Small people can stay warm in large clothing but large people don't fit into small clothing. Large clothing is also more effective for layering over other clothing or perhaps a blanket under.
Other warmth items to include would be beanies and gloves. You know, the ones that you can't quite throw away and they are taking up room in the back of your drawer.
What about water? Keeping some bottled water in the car along with snacks is always a good idea, except if mice are a problem. If so you can still keep the water. What if I am out and don't have any water you ask. Well then another thing for your kit would be an old pot or pan, preferably with a lid. Usually in cold weather you are stuck in the snow and surrounded by water. All you have to do is melt it! Take your pot and fill it with snow being careful to put in at least a teaspoon of liquid to start the melting process. If there is no water in the pot then the snow can take on a burnt flavor when melted. You really can burn water. By placing the pot of snow on top of the engine while it is running, being careful to avoid locations where the pot will fall off or into any of the moving parts, the heat from the engine can melt water for you while the car heater is keeping you warm. Avoid running the engine for extended periods to conserve fuel and maximize the effective use of the heat by melting water every time you have to run it.
If you are caught in the snow and have to create a marker for searchers to see red Cool Aid has proven to be an incredibly effective marker. Melt water, mix Cool Aid, use it to draw a large, perhaps four feet by eight feet, SOS on the snow. Even if your car is buried this marker is easily visible.
Your best chance of being found alive is to STAY WITH YOUR CAR!!! But if necessity dictates that you must travel, melt and carry water, dress as warmly as possible, take food if available, choose the best possible footwear, and carry extra socks. Socks can be used for either feet or hands in a pinch.
Travel Safe, Dan Sutton N22