So it really happens: people get stranded in their car in blizzards. What do you do if it happens to you?
- Stay calm, help is coming.
- Stay with the car. A car is more likely to be found; you are more likely to get lost,if you leave the car in the middle of a storm.
- Avoid overexertion and exposure. Stay in the car as much as possible. It should be obvious after only a few minutes whether or not you can dig your car out. Avoid working up a sweat.
- Only run the motor for short periods. A good rule of thumb is 10-15 minutes per hour, and only when you are awake. Make absolutely sure that snow has not blocked the exhaust pipe, and crack a downwind window for ventilation. During the blizzard, an 11-year-old in a running car succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning when the car's exhaust was blocked by a snow bank.
- Open doors and windows occasionally to get fresh air and to keep them from freezing shut.
- Get out and clear off the car once in a while so it looks like a car, and is more visible to rescue crews.
- Exercise and stretch briefly, but vigorously, from time to time. Don't stay in one position too long.
- Don't allow everyone to sleep at once. Someone should keep a watch.
- Use emergency flashers sparingly to conserve the battery, but use them as a signal at night. You may have to get out and clear the snow so they can be seen.
- Your car has many resources, especially if you put in emergency supplies. Be innovative. The horn can be an effective signal; use bursts of three, the universal distress signal. Be innovative in the use of car parts: a hubcap makes a crude snow scoop; seat insulation can be stripped out and stuffed into clothes; floor mats can be tied around feet; etc.