6 Critical Rules To Survive Being Stranded In Your Car In Freezing Temperature

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Top Tier Gear USA


With the unusual winter weather that many parts of the country are experiencing, driving conditions will be harsh and potentially dangerous. Moreover, getting stranded in your vehicle could become a very real threat, especially if you are traveling in isolated parts of the country. If this happens, you have a potentially dangerous survival situation on your hands.

Most people’s instinct will tell them to leave the car and go for help. If you are in a desolate area, you may not know how far help is and leaving your car will expose you and could get you lost in the wilderness if you don’t know where you are going.

6 Critical Tips You Need to Know In Order To Survive Being Stranded in Your Car in Freezing Temperatures

OK, let’s put your survival know-how to the test. Here’s the scenario:

At 3 p.m., a last minute work order has requested you to deliver some equipment but you must drive through a remote area where the road’s elevation is between 4,000 and 4,500 feet. The road is infamous for people who don’t know the area to take in the wintertime and get stuck, but you’ve driven it a few times and feel confident you can make it before dark. Before you set out, you turn on your GPS on your cell phone just in case. You’ve also checked the weather station, which turns out is calling for unexpected snow flurries in the area, but you’re on a deadline and will drive very carefully. 

Not a lot of people are driving on the road and you wish you could be at home too. The snow has been coming down for most of the trip making the roads slick. An hour into driving, you unknowingly make a wrong turn and end up on a remote logging road. The snow is really coming down making it difficult to see and you are losing daylight fast.

You curse your GPS for not telling you where to turn but realize you’ve lost signal and have no idea where you are. You decide to turn the car around and go out the way you came. As you get to the edge of the road, you lose traction and slide into a snow bank. 

As you try to free the car from the snow bank, the car won’t budge. You feel yourself panicking as you weigh all the problems – you’ve taken a wrong turn and are on a remote logging road, no one is in sight, you’re stuck in a snow bank and it’s dark outside. 

How to Survive Being Stranded in Your Car in Winter

So, what would you do if you were in this situation? Do you have the skills to get out alive?

Let’s look at some considerations to keep in mind:

  1. Keep calm. In this type of situation, you could be stranded for hours or in some cases, days. Mental preparedness is key and you must think rationally and logically. This is easier said than done when you’re in a survival situation.
  2. Stay in your car. Above all, exposure will be your greatest threat. Survival experts stress that it is easier for authorities to find you in your car than find you wandering in unknown territory.
  3. Have a vehicle preparedness kit. This emergency kit should reflect the season your area is experiencing and the terrain you are driving through. In winter, you want to have preps on hand to keep the core body warm. Items like a whistle, brightly colored rag or ribbon, thermos, hand warmers, emergency blankets, emergency beacon, a first aid kit, and flashlight. For a more in-depth article on critical items to carry in your vehicle, click here.
  4. Have survival food and water in the car at all times. Keep the basics in mind for food and water. Snow can be melted for water (have a portable water filter in your preparedness car kit. Protein bars, MRE’s or easy survival foods can be utilized for this emergency situation.
  5. Make your car visible. Have a bright colored rag or ribbon and tie it onto your car so that search parties can find you. Even using a reflective sun shade could help alert authorities to your whereabouts.
  6. Run your vehicle every 10 minutes. If your gasoline amount allows, run your vehicle to stay warm. You can bring heat to the interior of the car and charge your cell phone at the same time. Note: Make sure the exhaust pipe of the car is unobstructed from snow. If snow is covering the pipe, this could cause exhaust fumes to enter your car and cause health issues.

To survive this type of emergency, you must fight your instinct to leave. Staying with the vehicle will provide you shelter, warmth and if you have emergency supplies, you could have all you need to survive. No doubt that these life-saving tips will help you keep calm, think rationally and, ultimately, survive.

Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.

Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals. 

Visit her web site at ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

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Contributed by Tess Pennington of NaturalBlaze.com.

The Natural Blaze team is dedicated to the path of natural health and wellness. But we’re not just believers, we’ve experienced the healing properties of natural remedies first hand. That is why we are so deeply passionate to report natural health news, share wellness tips, and provide proven natural products to you.

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  • G’ma G

    It’s not a survival issue when you have survival supplies already packed in your car. Survival is what you do when you are not prepared with supplies. It’s a bundle up and stay warm until daylight issue. Surviving is ripping the padding out of all your seats save one to pack around you while hunched up on the remaining seat. it’s about loosening your clothes to form air pockets. It’s about eating a bit of snow to stay hydrated and rubbing your extremities to keep the blood circulating.

    • Cynical Old Bastard

      Heh-heh. That’s what I was gonna say. I was also gonna point out that there are no cellphones in a survival situation. Or bic lighters.

  • fishing4truth

    Good points; I would suggest that preparedness can be the difference between surviving or not. What’s the harm in preparing an emergency bag for scenarios such as this?

  • James

    Take a coffee can. Put in 5 heavy candle wicks. Put plastic lid back on it. Put in car. Burning it will last 24 hours if filled with good parrifin. Candles go out before you die of lack of oxygen. Have a small round grill for it also. You can heat a can of soup, melt snow in the can after. You can burn 1 wick or all 5 for heat in the car with it. Also a lighter in the top of it. To light it. Just in case you need it.

  • Billy Sharpshooter

    I like the tip to store bobybuilding protein bars in the car. I buy them not because I like them or because they work. They are just light, convenient and will keep when eggs and milk go off. I will also buy large tubs of protein powder to store at home because you can just add water when there’s a SHTF.
    I have a large freezer and enough tinned food to last I would say a month. I could not buy it all at once. I just buy little extras every time I go shopping and it builds up. I have enough soap to fill a box. I buy a year’s worth of toiletries every December to beat the new year price rises.
    I might set up my own prepper / smart shopper website.

  • Dow Jones

    Always keep a bottle of 1890 Sierra tequila, 2 bottles of Talisker (18 years) in the vehicle along with a decent novel and thick blanket. At least you will freeze slowly and in good spirits. Snow can work well as ice for your booze.

  • Kent

    Has no one ever heard of a shovel? I was born in raised in Montana at 30 below F.

    I’ve been stuck in dozens of drifts and mudholes. When you get stuck in a snowbank… you dig and jack yourself out! It’s dirty and a lot of work, and you swear a lot while doing it, but the last thing I would do is tear my car interior apart and sit on my ass if I had any alternatives at all. OFC, I would do that if it was subzero and the car was dead, out of gas, or disabled in some other serious way.
    But… hunting the Missouri Breaks(very tough country on the Missouri river, 50 miles from the nearest house) around Harper’s ridge, we drove off a 10 foot bank and busted up the front springs. We cobbled it back together with some 2X4s out of the truck box and a come-a-long. It took a while to get out at 20 MPH, but there’s usually a way… A long, slow trip back with an empty thermos sure beats sitting in the vehicle, freezing, hoping for help that will be days away(at best) in that country.

  • tonye

    Hmm… I moved to SoCal….

    The local Commies and the illegals are all over, but at least I don’t have to worry about freezing in my car.