_"The horror... the horror..."

I am not afraid to admit that I have apocalyptic survivalist leanings...bug out bags, emergency car kits and general preparedness are common discussions over a tumbler of scotch.

And as Eddard Stark says, "Winter is coming." So here are some tips on what to do if you are unfortunate enough to get stuck in bad winter weather while driving.
1. Stay in the vehicle. More people die after becoming stranded in a wintertime situation because they leave their vehicle than if they just stayed put. Survival experts recommend that everyone in the party remain inside the vehicle until help arrives. You’ll have heat and be protected from the elements.

2. Run the engine every hour. If you’ve followed the common sense rule of keeping your vehicle’s fuel level at or close to full, you’ll have enough fuel to run the engine for a maximum of 15 minutes each hour.

3. Use the dome light–sparingly. You’ll also be able to use the dome light for illumination at night – it draws less current from the battery than emergency flashers – and can be seen by searchers.

4. Clear the snow off the hood. Do clear the snow off the hood and roof so that your vehicle will be visible to searchers. This is especially important in remote locations. A car buried in snow is almost impossible to spot.

5. Don’t try to dig the car out. You’ll only wind up exhausting yourself and the sweat you work up will dampen your clothes – and keep you from getting warm. Be sure to clear the snow away from the vehicle’s exhaust pipe, though.

6. Ventilate the car. Crack the window to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning when you’re running the engine and car heater.

7. Contact help if possible. It goes without saying that if you have cell phone reception, call 911 and give your location – as near as you can. But remote locations often have spotty or no cell phone coverage, so be prepared to wait it out.

8. Stay awake, however you can. As the hours go by with no rescue, it’s easy for panic to set in. Try to remain calm. Sing songs, tell stories, read anything that’s in the car. You should be sure that you bring anything you need from the trunk inside the vehicle with you – and maybe that includes books or newspapers that can keep everyone’s mind occupied and allay fears. Stay awake, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends it to prevent vulnerability to cold-related health problems.

9. Don’t eat snow. Use an empty coffee can and waterproof matches to melt snow for drinking water, should you need it. Eating snow will only lower your body temperature.

10. Stay as warm as possible. Move your arms and legs to improve circulation. Wrap your entire body in extra clothing, blankets, even newspapers. Huddle together to keep warm.

11. Above all, stick together. Your chances of surviving the winter breakdown may depend on it.
This is what's in my Winter Car Kit:

Food Items
  • Sweet drink powder mix
  • Tea bags
  • Bag of mixed nuts
  • Chocolate candy
  • Candy
  • Salt, pepper,  sugar packets
  • 2 Gallons water
Food Tools
  • Enameled metal cup
  • Canned fuel/sterno
  • Eating utensils
Winter Tools
  • Rock salt
  • Shovel/Ice Scraper
  • Winter hat
  • Thick blanket
  • Pair of Wool Socks
First Aid
  • First-aid kit
  • Aspirin, Tylenol and Benadryl caplets
  • Alcohol Hand Wipes
Other Items
  • Matches
  • Utility knife/tool
  • LED-type flashlight
  • 2 Extra AA batteries
  • 3 Plastic trash bags
  • 50-foot roll of 1/8 inch nylon rope
  • 10x10 ft. plastic sheet
  • Duct tape
  • Hand crank radio/light
  • Jumper cables
  • Pen and Paper
  • Book
Cleaning Tools
  • Roll toilet paper
  • Toothbrush & toothpaste
  • Shampoo, hand lotion, bar soap
  • 2 Disposable razor
Clothing
  • Extra pair of boots
  • Extra sweat shirt
  • Extra pair of pants
  • Poncho
  • Work gloves