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Survival tips should you become stranded in your car during a snowstorm

Brandon Hewitt is an attorney with Michigan Auto Law and he shared some safety tips for surviving a snowstorm in your vehicle.

MICHIGAN, USA — Winter is underway in West Michigan, and if you happened to be stranded in your car during a snowstorm, would you know what to do to survive? Brandon Hewitt is an attorney with Michigan Auto Law and he shared some advice. He said the key to survival is all about planning and preparation. 

Emergency Supplies to Keep in the Car

  • Warm clothing
  • Work gloves
  • Reflective clothing in case you must exit your vehicle
  • Blankets and sleeping bags
  • Non-perishable food and snacks
  • Water
  • A flashlight with charged batteries
  • A cellphone and charger
  • A snow shovel
  • Ice scraper
  • Sand in case your vehicle gets stuck in the snow
  • Jumper cables
  • Flares
  • A first-aid kit
  • Candle and matches
  • Extra boots, mittens and hats

Keep the Gas Tank Full

  • You may have to drive slower – and use more gas – to reach your destination.
  • If you end up getting stranded, you will need to periodically run your engine to keep your battery charged and heating system functional in your vehicle.

Stay Inside the Vehicle  

  • It protects you against the effects of the cold weather (such as hypothermia and frostbite).
  • It protects you against the danger of being struck and injured by another vehicle.
  • Limited exceptions:
  1. Getting out to make sure your tailpipe is not obstructed so exhaust fumes do not back up into the passenger compartment.
  2. Safely walking to a gas or safe, warm shelter.

Try to Stay Warm

You can run your engine and heating system for 10 minutes which will generate enough warmth to last an hour.

  • Sit close to other occupants to benefit from each other’s body heat.
  • Hug your chest, and put your hands under your armpits.

Additional Tips

  • Eat in small amounts to keep your energy level up.
  • Drink water to stay hydrated. Some experts suggest drinking melted snow if you run out of water.
  • Good food to consider packing and having on hand are foods that are high in fat and carbohydrates, such as nuts, candy bars and chocolate.
  • Move your body at least once per hour to keep warm and keep your blood flowing.

Stay off your cell phone and save the juice for urgent, necessary use

  • Preserve your cell phone’s charge as long as possible so you can try to call and communicate with rescuers and family.
  • Resist the temptation to use your phone to pass the time when you are stranded in your car during a snowstorm.
  • Listening to music, watching videos or checking social media will run down your battery’s charge.

Tend to Your Pets

  • Pets are vulnerable to the damage that cold weather can bring even though they have fur.
  • They are vulnerable to and can suffer from hypothermia and/or frostbite.
  • Keep your pets warm by huddling close together and covering them with a blanket or some other form of insulation.
  • Having an extra doggie jacket or boots in the car will be helpful.

Make Yourself Visible to Rescuers

  • It is important to make yourself visible so rescuers will notice you and come to your aid.
  • Tie a red or brightly colored cloth to your door or antenna.
  • Turn on your dome light at night when you are running your engine.
  • If the snow has stopped, then raise your hood.
  • Set out flares if you have them.
  • If you have a reflective safety vest to wear when you are outside your vehicle, position it on your dashboard so it is visible through the windshield.

If you need the help of an attorney visit www.MichiganAutoLaw.com or call 833-411-MICH.

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