When you read that it’s colder in MA than it is in Fairbanks, Alaska you start to think how you can possibly stay warm when you’re outside. But even worse, what would happen if you’re stuck in a traffic jam on I-95 behind a jack-knifed tractor trailer and trapped in your car for an hour, or two or even three? That’s exactly what happened to some people last year and it’s a distinct possibility of it happening this weekend when temps are near 0 degrees.
Here’s what you need to know to be prepared:
Stay with your car. You might be tempted to walk and find help but unless there is a building that you know is occupied within your sight, don’t leave your car. When help arrives it will add more time to your rescue if you’re not with your car. If you don’t have flares to set, tie a bright piece of cloth on your car to alert anyone passing by. Be sure to bundle up with extra layers, especially on your toes and fingers, and try to move around any way you can – clapping your hands, moving your legs, etc.
Pack supplies – If you live in a blizzard-prone area, always keep your car stocked with emergency items including flares, a shovel, extra blankets and socks, a pocket knife, a hand crank radio, an extra cell phone, a bottle or canteen to hold water, matches or a lighter and some candles (with a tin can to burn the candles in), dried snack including jerky, candy and peanut butter crackers and a First Aid kit. If you have a baby, include extra formula and diapers.
Avoid CO poisoning – While you might want to keep the car running for heat, only do so about 10 minutes every hour to avoid running out of gas. Make sure there is no snow blocking the tail pipe and keep one window open a crack to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Be sure the window is opposite from the way the wind is blowing to avoid snow blowing into the car.
Stay hydrated and energized – When it’s cold you tend to drink less but you can’t risk getting dehydrated. Don’t eat snow as your body will still have to work to melt it. Rather pack some into the canteen or bottle you have in your supplies and slowly let it melt. Eat candy and protein bars to keep your energy up.
Before ever heading out for a trip let a family member or friend know where you are going, the route you are taking and who’s going with you. If you don’t arrive at your destination they can immediately give the information to emergency personnel who are searching for you.