Anyone who has ever witnessed a snowstorm knows they can be some of the most brutal storms mother nature has to offer. With that said, becoming stranded outdoors or in your vehicle during a snowstorm can be an incredibly scary and dangerous experience. You must take the proper steps if you want to make it out alive. If you ever happen to be caught in a snowstorm, the following tips will help you survive.
1. Try to Be Prepared At All Times
Whether you are planning a winter hiking excursion or are simply driving to work in the winter, you should always be prepared in case a snowstorm hits. If you are outdoors and away from your car, it is very important to take some things with you. Pack a blanket, water, a charged cell phone, flashlights, first aid supplies, matches, and some snacks. You should also make sure you are dressed appropriately. If you are traveling in your car, make sure you also have a fully-stocked emergency kit in your trunk. Warm blankets, a shovel, snow boots, tire chains, a first aid kit, matches, and flashlights are items that should have a permanent home in your vehicle’s trunk during the winter months.
2. Watch the Weather Report
Before you set off to go anywhere in the winter, you should watch the weather report. Although meteorologists are not always right and snowstorms can pop up out of nowhere, it is still a good idea to watch the upcoming forecast so you have an idea of what is in store.
3. If You Are Outdoors, Try to Find Shelter Immediately
Because snowstorms can happen quickly, it is easy to see how people get caught outdoors in them. If this happens to you, you need to locate some type of shelter as soon as possible. Get out of the wind and try to find an area surrounded by brush or trees. Since thick tree coverage can often block snow from accumulating, you may want to locate a spot underneath some substantial trees. Be prepared to build yourself a snow fort if there is no other shelter nearby. As long as you are out of the direct wind, deep snow can act as an insulator and actually save your life.
4. If You Are in Your Vehicle, Stay There
If you become stranded in your vehicle during a snowstorm, it is extremely important to stay there. Do not attempt to walk away from your vehicle, as you may get lost and end up in much more trouble. Also, do not leave your car running at all times. This will consume all of your gas and can also cause dangerous carbon monoxide fumes to enter your vehicle, especially if the exhaust pipe is covered by snow. It is a better idea to start your vehicle at intervals to save gas and reduce fumes. It is also recommended that you hang a brightly colored object or piece of material from the exterior of your car. This will make it more visible to others and can aid in a rescue.
5. Stay Hydrated
Regardless of where you are stranded, it is very important to stay hydrated. If you do not have access to any water, you may use snow as a last resort. Because the cold temperature of snow can facilitate dehydration and lower your body temperature, make sure you suck on it for a few seconds before swallowing it. This will raise the temperature and make it less of a danger.
6. Build a Fire
If you are stranded without a vehicle, chances are you are wet. This is extremely dangerous and will increase the likelihood of hypothermia and frostbite. If there is any way you can build a small fire, do it as soon as you can. A fire will create warmth and help to dry out your wet clothing. A fire will also allow you to heat snow if need be.
7. Stay Positive
Although being stranded in a snowstorm can be very scary, try to remain calm and stay positive. Stress will only make a situation like this worse. By keeping a level head, you should be able to make it out alive.
Now that you know some tips for surviving in a snowstorm, you should be prepared should you ever encounter one of these powerful storms. If possible, keep a fully charged cell phone with you at all times so you can call for help at the first sign of trouble.
Guest post from Payton Price. Payton writes for TermLifeInsurance.org.