How to travel during a blizzard
In December 2011, a Swedish man was found trapped in snow-covered car. He was lucky enough to have a sleeping bag, a jar of oil rich cream and several cans of lemonade. He survived for two months without food by eating handfuls of snow. His car got snowed in. It helped him not to freeze to death. He was found weak, but alive.
However, not everyone is as lucky as this guy. To prevent such situation, follow these rules.
Getting ready for a winter trip
First of all, consider all the pros and cons. Go on a winter trip only in case of emergency.
We recommend you to driving with a full tank plus additional 20-litre can. You can also put extra 5-6 litres in the cabin of your car. You should also have batteries to spare as well as chargers for a power torch, mobile phone and navigator.
Then check your clothes. It should be designed for extreme temperatures (layered clothing, down jacket, winter boots, etc.). You should also take warm gloves, a sleeping bag, a blanket and a pillow (for each passenger).
Take as much food as you may need taking into account the number of days you are going to spend on the road + extra 3 days. We recommend you to take canned meat, other canned food, uncooked smoked sausages, 5-10-litre water. That will be fine if you also take instant noodles, tea bags, hot chocolate, coffee, a knife, wet wipes and matches. Kettle is also a must as well as a heat tab (preferably, a camp stove or a gas range).
Take a first-aid kit including the medicine that may need each of the passengers.
We also recommend you to take a tent or a car cover of bright vivid colour. You may use it to cover your car from snow. The colour of the tent will help a rescue team to find you as fast as possible.
Don’t forget to put an axe, a saw, a spade (at least a sapper one), a towrope and a rope (of a brighter colour) in the trunk of your car.
How to stay safe in a blizzard
If you got caught in bad weather on the road and your car is getting snowed in, put it against the wind and cover it with a tent (you’d better stretch it on the driver side and fix the end properly). Make sure you haven’t covered the exhaust pipe.
Call the emergency response group and provide it with contact information. If there is no connection, check whether there is any from time to time. Don’t panic, even if you failed to call anybody and inform about the situation. Stay calm.
Periodically get out of the car to clear the exhaust pipe, the tires of snow and dig out snow from under the car. Every time you leave your car, secure a line of rope or cord to you and your car to avoid becoming lost or disoriented.
Since the heat leaves the car through the windows, we recommend you to cover them with a tent too. Try not to fall asleep during a blizzard with the engine switched on. However, if you turn it off when the outer temperature is below 30 degrees Celsius, you may not be able to start it. That is why try to do your best not to get gas-poisoning. The latter may kill you faster than the frost.
Drink hot tea, coffee or chocolate. If possible, put the gas range under the stretched end of the tent. In case of emergency, you can put it in the cabin straight in the passenger seat. However, in the latter case, there is a particular risk of burning your car out.
Periodically try to pull away to remove ice and snow from the slipping wheels to prevent them from freezing.
If you have to leave your car, beware of the wolves.
What to do after a blizzard
After a blizzard (it never lasts more than 24 hours) dig your car up. No need to wait for the emergency response group. To avoid your car sink to the bottom, first dig out snow from under the car and then release the wheels.
Leave a tent on your car. It will make your car more visible.
Try to make a fire. If you are stuck in a steppe, pick up dried grass. If you got caught in the woods, take some brushwood. Heat tab and petrol will help you to make at least a watch fire.
If it already got dark, but you still have not been rescued, turn on the flashlight in the flashing mode. It will attract attention signaling that there is someone in need.
Chances for rescue are better if you stay in the car.
We hope this article was helpful. Anything might happen if you travel in winter and you should be prepared for the worst. Take care and don’t forget your International Driving Permit!