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What do you keep in your car for emergencies during the winter?
In an old thread ElkHunter said he put a bag in his truck in September, and it didn't come out till May. Such a great idea. It got me thinking, I need to do that!
Just in case.
So I am wondering what ideas you all have for what to keep in your car in case you are stranded somewhere.
I heard on Colorado news once that you can light a small candle, crack the windows, and it will keep you warm enough to survive. Does anyone know anything more about that? Like, do you need a certain type of candle? And how much do you need to crack your windows?
I was also wondering about water. Since it freezes, what do you do for liquids in case you are stuck somewhere in your car? I imagine sucking on ice will just contribute to your frozen state...
I do have a couple below zero sleeping bags in the back of my car. And an emergency kit. But that's it.
Maybe this thread will help a lot of us be more prepared.
Parka (Sub zero)
Elk Skin gloves with liners
Insulated Bib Overalls
4 standard candles (approx 1.5 inches across and 4 inches long)
Half dozen energy bars
Empty 16 oz cup
However, standard equip that I always carry.
Road flares 6
Yellow rotating light, plugs into the cigarette lighter
GPS, hand held, battery or plug into cigarette lighter
Reflective triangles 3
Chains (yes even in the summer, for mud, winter for snow)
Log chain 40 ft.
Some of this stuff is self explainatory, some not so much.
Candles are kept for warmth. Yes, one candle burning can keep you from freezing to death. But they eat up oxygen. Crack a window on each side about a half inch (circulation of sorts)
Empty 16 oz cup. Scoop up some snow, hold it close to the candle and the snow will melt and you have drinking water.
Yellow rotating light. Stuck on the road? Maybe somebody else isn't. Nice to suction cup it to the roof so people have a better chance of seeing you. Don't just rely on flashers, snow can cover them pretty easily.
Most important is the GPS system. When you get into a blinding snow storm and your running along at 10-15 miles per hour it's pretty easy to loose track of where your at. Where's the nearest town? Where's the next exit? Where's the interstate? Turn on that GPS system and realize you're only a mile and a half from the next town. Or realize you just passed the exit to the last town a mile and a half ago. It'll tell you where your at.
There's times when you almost want to give up. GPS says 7 miles kinda gives you some hope. Or you slide off in the ditch and can't move. GPS shows your only 200 yards from an exit to town and remembering that town from previous trips you remember there's a truck stop right at the top of the off ramp.
I also carry a spare air filter. In a blinding snowstorm I've had snow get sucked into the air intake and freeze against the filter and shut off my air. Vehicle stalls. Slap that other filter in there and try it again. Take the first filter and set it on the floor boards next to the heater vent to melt the ice off of it so it's ready should the other one do the same thing.
There's lots of things you can do. Know the distances between towns. Know where that next town is. If it's doubtful, don't go, stop at the town your at. I've even reset my odometer (trip) as I pass towns. That way I have a solid reference to where I'm at and how far I have to go to get to the next town. Can't glance at the normal odometer and expect to remember what it said 30 minutes ago.
But pretty much, the HP are going to take care of you. They've gotten real cautious about conditions and if they're iffy, they close the interstate. But secondary roads don't have the luxury of gates. They rely on the radio announcing the road should not be traveled on. But if you're not tuned to a local station your not going to get that info and there's not enough Troopers out there to guard all the secondary roads.
If you get stuck off the road and don't have any idea where your at? Stick with the vehicle. Don't forget to get out every 30 minutes or so (depending on how bad it's snowing and blowing) and clear the snow away from your exhaust pipe in back. Snow gets piled up around it and the fumes will be coming into the car you won't even know it. You'll just go to sleep and never wake up.
Best word of caution? If it looks bad, get a motel, rent a movie, pour a glass of wine and relax.
heavy duty long jumper cables,
a couple of long handled snow brushes/ice scrapers,
extra "watch caps" and a balaclava
spare windshield wiper blade,
two heavy duty LED flashlights w/extra batteries
Drinking water, about 6 each liter bottles
Toilet paper roll
a shovel, a bag of sand ...
and in my diesel cars/pick-up trucks, a spare 1.5 gallon diesel fuel container ... which I've only needed once, but it was the difference of being stuck in the middle of nowhere overnight and the ability to make it 6 miles to an exit with a fuel station.
I remember you had mentioned the parka and bib overalls were Carhart? Is that just the best brand for this kind of stuff? I wonder if they come in kid sizes and womens? My husband bought a Carhart jacket w/hood when we moved here (he likes to walk to work) and is glad to have it. A bit on the expensive side. But I imagine they last a long while, worth investing in.
Can you get the elk skin gloves w/liners at a Carhart store? I've never heard of those. They must be the warmest?
I'm definitely getting several candles then (matches/lighter). And energy bars are a good idea. My husband also ordered MREs the other day for our 72hr kits. Should put some of those in.
Where do you get a yellow rotating light, flares and triangles? The flares you just shoot up in the air? Like in the movies? But they go out quick? Triangles are reflective so others can see you in the dark, right?
We really do need a GPS unit. Wish they weren't so expensive. I think my husband would really like one of his own anyway. He's a GIS guy and sometimes they do GPS field work. I'll have to mention this to him, good reason to get one. You're right, it could be the difference between giving up, having no idea where you are even if you didn't want to give up, and having the hope of knowing which direction to go along w/expected distance.
And the odometer idea is a good one. My husband does like to do that when we travel (even with good weather) just to get a feel for things too. He's often throwing numbers out at me, remarking on distances, but they haven't stuck. I am a little more oblivious I must admit, but I am going to do better... Just have to think of being stuck somewhere out in a storm, without my husband, with my son depending on me, and that should be motivation enough.
Great idea about melting snow using the candle. Wouldn't have thought of that. Empty cups then, but what kind, so the snow melts but not the cup? Metal?
And good point about keeping the chains in for the summer. Wouldn't have thought of the mud thing.
And staying with the vehicle. I remember a sad story (same one on the news that I heard about the candle) where the brave father, trying to get some help for his family, left the vehicle, and unfortunately perished. But they found the mother and children with the car.
Yeah, stay with the car.
Good reminder about keeping the exhaust pipe clear. I was thinking maybe a small shovel might come in handy too.
Why the 40 ft log chain? That would probably be a bugger to handle.
I am making a list and we'll gradually get our winter car gear together. Thanks again for the ideas, many we probably would not have considered.
When you say there are almost times you want to give up, were you in a bad situation once? These tips are from hard won experience?
Sorry if I asked too many questions, it's a habit I have... You certainly don't need to answer any, or all. Just trying to get good info where I can.
In addition to a small shovel, I would add a card game, especially if you have children to keep entertained. And tissues.
Also important is to drive on the top 1/2 of your gas tank. Nothing worse than being stuck 30 miles from the next town in below zero weather and seeing your gas gauge at less than 1/4 tank.
No, the flares ElkHunter mentioned are not the "shooting" kind. They are the red road flares that most truckers carry. Railroaders use them in emergencies, too--they commonly refer to them as "fusees." They can be called either by those selling them. I bought mine at Wal-mart.
As for the "cup," I carry a couple of clean tin cans (like soup cans). One can used to melt snow in. The other is to put the candle in--makes sort of a holder for it. One thing NOT to over-rely upon in Wyoming is a cell phone. There are many rural areas in the state that still have marginal cell service. It is entirely possible to get stuck in a place with "no service." The idea of "I don't need all that survival stuff--if I get stuck, I'll just call somebody," can be a deadly one.
Easiest source of a balaclava is a sporting goods store, such as Cabela's ... and you can shop on-line. I bought two in 100% acrylic ones ... in hunter camo colors ... for $5.00 each. You can "roll" them up to be a heavy cap, or unroll them to completely cover your ears, all around your neck, and most of your face. Helps a lot to keep the cold and wind off of you ... especially when you're in very cold wind child exposure, you don't want any more skin than possible exposed to the wind. These also help conserve body heat with the complete head covering.
Elk skin gloves and liners can be purchased at Wal-Mart.
Just a plastic cup, don't get it that close to the candle. haha
CarHarts or Walls are both heavy duty clothing. K-Mart or Wal-Mart carry them here.
Yellow rotating light can be purchased at an autoparts store or at a truck stop.
40 ft log chain gives me the ability to possibly pull you out of the ditch, or for you to pull me out of the ditch.
Flairs don't shoot up. You've probably seen them before used at an accident. Simply strike them and lay them on the ground and the sparkle and glow a bright red that can be seen from a pretty good distance.
Sunsprit brought up some good points. Flashlights. I don't even think of that because I've got them in the truck all the time. I have two. One takes D-cell batteries and the other one is one that you simply rock back and forth to charge it up. No batteries. But they're not real bright. Bright enough to get out and check your vehicle or kick snow away from the tail pipe, but no distance to them.
I don't carry a spare fuel can in my truck because my pickup normally holds 146 gallons of diesel. I just don't let it get low.
As I've traveled around the country and had my kids with me. I had them looking at an atlas and I'd question them about towns. Where is the next one? If we broke down right now, where's the nearest help? So many times in the wild country up here, there's a town, but it'a a mile or two off the interstate so you don't see it in normal travels. But it's there. It's help if you need it. But there's also alot of towns that have no help. By that I mean, they might have a filling station, but it closes at 5 and is not open on Sunday, etc...
We carry a bag of sand or kitty litter,
a fold up shovel,
one of those little sterno stoves,
a bunch of emergency candles,
emergency warming blankets,
neon orange roll of duck tape to make a flag to be seen or for snow plows...
A heavy duty tow strap, cost about 40 bucks... but well worth it...
that is all I can remember at the moment...
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