Complete Winter Survival Kit
Warm socks, hat and mittens
Multi=purpose tool or knife
It's vitally important that you stay in your vehicle, warm and dry, protected from the weather.Trying to dig your way out of a ditch, or attempting to walk back to town can be fatal. Instead, call 911 to let them know your location and predicament then sit tight. Do not leave the engine running. If it's extremely cold (-5 to -30 F) you can idle the motor for a few minutes at a time -- but only after making sure the exhaust system is not damaged and the tail pipe is clear of snow and debris. Carbon monoxide can sneak up on you without warning. One minute you're feeling normal and the next you're unconscious. Almost 60% of the unintentional deaths caused by carbon monoxide are from motor vehicle exhaust. So don't use the engine for heat -- use your head -- and your winter survival kit.
If you keep your gear packed and stowed in the passenger compartment, you're set. Settle in, put on those warm clothes (socks, hat, gloves, long underwear and fleece or wool layers) and relax wrapped in your sleeping bag or blankets. If you get out to set your flares or check on something during a severe blizzard, first put on your outer layers and goggles, then use the nylon cord to tie off a life line so that you can findthe way back to your car -- visibility can be as low as 12 inches!
Ventilate the car by opening a downwind window (on the side away from the wind and blowing snow) approximately 1/2 inch. Fire up your candle lantern -- the candles burn for 8 hours and will raise the temperature in the car 8 to 10 degrees F.
Break out your snacks -- roasted nuts, dried fruit, chocolate, Cliff Bars, etc. sure taste good in a situation like this -- and will provide the protein and fat you'll need to keep warm. Use your water sparingly (you should keep 2 large Nalgene bottles in your kit) but don't let yourself get dehydrated. In the rare event that you're trapped for more than 24 hours, things get a little trickier, but you'll do just fine. When you run out out water and dry food, you'll have to do some cookin'. If the snow and wind have stopped blowing hard, gear up and head outside. Dig out a shelf in the snow, line it with your floor mats and set up the stove. If the storm is still raging clear out an area in the car, protect it with the floor mats and set up a galley. Fill the coffee can, pot or pan with snow and fire up the stove -- carefully! Pour the first pot of melted snow in your bottle. If you're hungry, you'll have to melt more snow and heat the water to near boiling. Open one of the backpack meals (buy the kind that you cook in it's package -- all you do is add hot water) and enjoy. Help should be just around the corner -- severe storms don't usually last much longer than a day -- you can survive 4 or 5 more if you're prepared.