Stranded in a Snowstorm? These Smart Tips Could Save Your Life

When a winter storm hits and you’re on the road, it's easy for panic to set in. These emergency tips can help keep you safe—and as warm as possible—until help arrives.

1 / 8
Car break down in winter - car buried in snow
Photo: Shutterstock

Car breakdown in winter?

If you’re stranded in a car and can’t drive further, don’t get out. Call for help if your car broke down. Run the engine occasionally for warmth, but keep a window open. Be sure the exhaust pipe isn’t blocked by snow.

2 / 8
Low fuel guage shown in a car shot close up
Garrett Aitken/Shutterstock

Run out of gas?

If the car runs out of gas, keep all the windows shut to conserve warmth. Stay on the lookout for help. Make sure your windows are cleared of snow so passing drivers can see that there’s someone in the car.

Avoid these winter driving mistakes that could put you in danger.

3 / 8
fitness, sport, people, exercising and healthy lifestyle concept - young man stretching leg and warming up at fence in winter
Syda Productions/Shutterstock

Stuck for a while?

Exercise or move your arms and legs for warmth and keep yourself awake. Don’t go to sleep under any circumstances.

4 / 8
Blizzard, strong snowstorm, snow-covered trees. A silhouette lone man walking along a forest road under the winter snowstorm

Caught outside?

If you’re caught outside while on foot, head to the nearest shelter. Tie a scarf over your nose and mouth to protect your ears and face from the wind and snow.

Make sure these roadside emergency kit essentials are always in your car.

5 / 8
Beautiful winter landscape with snow covered trees and fence
Mazur Travel/Shutterstock

Can’t see ahead of you?

If the snow is so bad it impairs sight, try to follow a fence or ruts in the road.

6 / 8
a tired buried deeply in the snow
Beth Van Trees/Shutterstock

Stuck in a snowbank?

If your vehicle is really stuck, don’t wear yourself out shovelling it out, according to News Wheel. Instead, conserve your energy and concentrate on staying warm.

Take a look back at the worst snowstorms in Canadian history.

7 / 8
Scraping ice off windshield in winter
Photo: Shutterstock

Ice scraper breaks?

Prepare for a broken ice scraper ahead of time by making sure to include a back-up scraper and brush in your vehicle. Even better, also invest in a windshield protector that will make de-icing much easier.

Find out why you need to keep a nail file in your car this winter.

8 / 8
Thermos bottle on the snow

Getting thirsty?

The last thing you want to do when you’re stranded is eat snow directly, according to News Wheel. The energy your body expends warming up the snow makes it harder for you to retain body heat. If you happen to have an empty container, though, you can place snow inside of it and drink it after it melts.

Next, find out how to prepare your car for winter so that you can avoid a breakdown in the first place.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest