Be Safe during the Blizzards
By Joseph Parish
In view of the recent blizzard that struck the eastern seaboard it appears that a few precautions and safety tips are in order. While I was safety nestled in my home and did not have to needlessly venture out into the foul weather many people are not as fortunate and must travel to work or other destinations.
It is important for your safety and that of your passengers for you to know what to do in the event you are caught traveling in blizzard like conditions. You might claim that you have traveled the same highway hundreds of times and that you know every one of the twists and turns that you might encounter so what could possibly go wrong?
When that white snow starts to hit the surfaces of the highway and roads things do not appear the same as they did prior to it’s arrived. It is very easy to become confused and disorientated with all the white appearing in front of your eyes. Edges of the highway become increasingly more difficult to define as the amount of downfall increases.
Without failure every winter when the ice and snow arrives we hear accounts of drivers being stranded for days on end without even the vital products necessary to sustain life such as food and water. These very same people failed to bring a cell phone with them as they traveled the snow covered roads and their supplies lacked items such as blankets and cold weather clothing. Although some of these people were fortunate enough to survive long enough for help to arrive others did not survive at all.
It is always a struggle surviving adverse conditions regardless of how well prepared you may be but if you have failed to make even the most basic preparations you are doomed from the start. Everyone should create and carry a winter survival kit in their vehicle at the start of the winter season. Most winter survival kits should be placed in the back seat and not the trunk and should contain the following items.
A warm blanket will help you to keep warm while you are awaiting the arrival of help. Cars often cool off very quickly and due to adequate safety concerns you should not run your car engine for extended periods of time. Carry this blanket in your back seat as in many cases you simply may not be able to access your truck. If you are like me entrance to your trunk can be obtained by way of lowering the back seat itself.
Add extra clothing such as boots, insulated underwear, wool socks, a pair of mittens and a ski mask. Include a source of heat in your kit such as a small candle. Use caution when burning the candle and make sure to include some sort of container to hold it in. I find a clean empty tuna can works well. Naturally, you will need a means of lighting the candle as well. I keep both matches and several lighters in the car.
Although I do not push the concept of eating snow due to the high bacteria content as well as its ability to lower your body temperature you will need to stay hydrated so you may have no choice. Therefore you should include some sort of metal container for melting the ice for drinking. A small camping kit similar to those mess kits from your scouting or military days which fold up to just about nothing works great for this task.
Although you may have a radio in your vehicle you might also include a battery operated portable with extra dry cells. If for some reason you can not use your car radio at least you can keep track of the current weather conditions. The modern trend these days is to keep a wind up radio/flashlight combination in your car.
Your foods should include easy to eat treats such as candy bars, dehydrated fruit, hard candy, jerky, nuts, some jellybeans or raisins. Include a book to help pass the time as you wait to be rescued. Some bright colored cloths such as red or orange along with a whistle can help you attract attention and summons help. Above all, include a fully charged cell phone. I always keep a battery type charger for mine in my vehicle which plugs into the cigarette lighter. That is one of those items that I “wouldn’t leave home without”. Many people forget one of the most vital products you can – a roll or two of toilet paper.
Always stay in your car and never venture from it. It is very easy to become disorientated if you attempt to wander out to find help. For as long as you can, use your car in order to stay warm by periodically running the motor and heater for ten minutes every hour. You will need to conserve your fuel and always ensure that your exhaust pipe is clear of snow or ice.
Copyright @2010 Joseph Parish