How to Stay Safe if You’re Stuck in Your Car During a Blizzard


First of all, don’t leave your car.

Kiara Davis (left) and Aja Brown bring coolers with drinks and snacks to people stranded on the highway in Virginia this week. AP. via Peter Sihelka / The Free Lance-Star

  • Wintere Weather Interstate Shutdown 05819 61d44e84a5afc

    Stranded driver endures chilly night on impassable I-95 in Virginia

  • Scene from a Traffic Nightmare on I-95 in Virginia

An avalanche in Virginia this week trapped hundreds of drivers on Interstate 95, leaving them trembling for hour after hour, wondering why they couldn’t drive and when help was coming.

In the aftermath of the storm, safety experts have offered advice on how people can stay safe if they get stuck in their vehicles. His top tip? Be ready.

But first, a caveat: Check the weather forecast before hitting the road, he said. If a blizzard is expected, it’s best to stop.

For those who venture outside anyway, here are some important safety tips should they happen in the event of a disaster.

Pack a ‘Go Bag’

Professor of Emergency Medicine at Stanford University and an emergency physician at Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage, Alaska. As Ken Zaffren said, some of the important essentials are food, water and a charged cellphone.

In addition, experts said it would be helpful to have the following: parka, blankets, sleeping bags, shoes, mittens, hats, flares, medicines, wipes, a shovel, a first aid kit, a cellphone charger, an ice scraper, jumper Cable and a full tank of gas.

Even better: Keep these items in your car year-round, experts said.

Stay Warm

You are on the road Snow is covering the ground. There is a traffic jam. now what?

First, don’t leave your car, experts said. This is the safest place to stay until the storm is over.

“No matter how cold it is inside the car, it will be cold outside,” said Professor Gordon Gisbrecht from the University of Manitoba. Studied human responses to extreme environments.

Resist the temptation to reach out and get help, he said. If you go outside, you could get hypothermia or you could get lost.

Instead, generate heat by turning the car on for 10 minutes every hour, said Dr. Steve Mitchell, MD, a medical director of the emergency department at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Now anyone can waste gas.

He noted that the human body generates heat naturally, although young people lose heat faster. Wear a hat so you don’t lose heat from your head.

Giesbrecht suggests maximizing your body heat by hugging your chest and placing your hands by your side.

There’s only one situation in which you should step outside: If you need to check that your tail pipe is clean, to eliminate the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning from the exhaust, experts said.

Your care

It’s easy to feel isolated or scared, but remember that you’re surrounded by other people who are also stranded, said Dr. Grant Lippman, founder of Global Outdoor Emergency Support, an app that offers tips for emergencies. provides.

If you have them, eat foods that are high in fat and carbohydrates, which will give you energy and help generate heat, he said. This includes nuts, chocolate and candy bars.

If you run out of water, drink melted ice, Mitchell said. But don’t drink alcohol. This will distract you.

Lippman said to have wipes and a bottle on hand in case you need to go to the bathroom.

While your phone may provide a needed distraction, it’s important to conserve your battery so you can make emergency calls, he said. Close your browser and any other battery draining apps.

Instead, you can distract yourself by doing short exercises in the car, which will also help you stay warm, Lippman said.

What about pets?

According to the American Kennel Club, lean breeds, older dogs and puppies are more vulnerable to hypothermia.

Experts said you should include items like blankets and food for your pet in your emergency kit. While in the car, you can walk around with your pet for warmth. Ideally, you can cover the pet with some sort of insulation.

be visible to rescuers

Experts said that when your engine is running, turn on your hazard lights or dome lights so rescuers can see you.

The National Weather Service suggests tying a brightly colored cloth to your antenna or door. When the snow descends, lift the hood to signal for help.

driving through a storm

According to AAA, drive slowly to avoid skidding, and note that it takes longer to decelerate in icy road conditions. Speeding too fast can cause the wheels to spin out of control.

Keep distance from other cars, trucks and snow plows.

Tire pressure drops in cold weather. According to guidance issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drivers should have their tires inspected on monthly and before long trips.

This article was originally from . appeared in the new York Times,