Blizzard Safety: What to do When Disaster Strikes

Jacob Gregor, President

As the winter season sets in, it’s important to be prepared for extreme weather conditions, especially when driving. While modern cars are designed to handle harsh weather, there are times when the unexpected can happen. One such scenario is getting stuck in a ditch during a blizzard.

Driving in snowy conditions requires extra caution, but if your car does end up in a ditch, it’s important to stay calm and take the necessary precautions to ensure your safety.

The first step is to assess the situation. Determine if it’s safe to get out of the car or if you should stay put until help arrives. If you do decide to leave the car, make sure to dress warmly and wear appropriate footwear, such as snow boots with good traction.

Next, check to see if you have any means of communication, such as a cell phone or a radio. If you have a cell phone, make sure it’s fully charged and call for help. If you don’t have a phone, try to signal passing cars for help or walk to the nearest residence for assistance.

If you decide to stay in the car, it’s important to conserve your resources, such as your battery and fuel. Keep the engine running periodically to stay warm, but be sure to crack a window to prevent carbon monoxide buildup. It’s also a good idea to periodically check the exhaust pipe to ensure it’s not blocked by snow.

In terms of staying warm, use whatever resources you have available in the car, such as blankets, coats, and other clothing items. If you’re stranded for an extended period of time, you can also use the car’s floor mats for insulation.

When it comes to food and water, it’s always a good idea to keep a supply of non-perishable snacks and bottled water in the car, especially during the winter months. These items can sustain you until help arrives.

While waiting for help, it’s important to stay calm and avoid overexertion. Shoveling snow or attempting to push the car can lead to exhaustion, which can be dangerous in extreme weather conditions. It’s better to conserve your energy and wait for professional help to arrive.blizzard aftermath: my car + 23.5 inches of snow | just 24 h… | Flickr

If you do decide to attempt to free your car from the ditch, make sure to do so safely. Don’t try to push the car alone, as this can lead to injury. Instead, use a shovel or other tools to clear snow from around the car and create a path for the car to move. You can also try using sand, gravel, or kitty litter for added traction.

It’s important to note that if you’re not experienced in driving in snowy conditions, it’s best to avoid driving altogether. Stay home if possible, and if you do need to go out, make sure to take extra precautions and give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination safely.

In addition to the tips above, there are a few things to avoid when stuck in a ditch during blizzard conditions. These include:

  • Abandoning your car: While it may be tempting to leave your car and walk to safety, this can be dangerous, especially in extreme weather conditions. Your car provides shelter and protection, so it’s best to stay put until help arrives.
  • Using the car’s heater: While it may seem like a good idea to use the car’s heater to stay warm, this can be dangerous if the exhaust pipe is blocked by snow. Carbon monoxide can build up in the car, which can be deadly.
  • Ignoring warning signs: If you notice warning signs such as fatigue, disorientation, or confusion, it’s important to seek help immediately. These are signs of hypothermia, which can be life-threatening if left untreated.

In conclusion, getting stuck in a ditch during blizzard conditions can be a frightening experience, but with the right precautions, …you can increase your chances of staying safe and getting the help you need. Remember to stay calm, conserve your resources, and avoid taking unnecessary risks. By following these tips, you can navigate the challenges of winter driving and stay safe in even the harshest conditions.