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In case you are stranded while driving in the winter

If possible, call 911 when stranded. Make sure to prioritize being warm and safe if you are ever stranded during winter.

Always be cautious when deciding whether to drive during harsh weather conditions. If you ever do find yourself stranded while driving during winter, always try to call 911 first. When you talk to authorities, prepare to:

  • Describe your location, conditions of your companions and your issues.
  • Listen for questions.
  • Follow any instruction.
  • Don't hang up until you know whom you have spoken with and what will happen next.

While you are stranded, make sure to always be safe and to keep warm. Follow these tips:

  • Stay in your vehicle.
    • Walking in a storm can be very dangerous, especially if you lose your way.
  • Avoid overexertion, such as trying to push your car or shoveling snow.
    • You could risk heart attack or other injury.
    • Sweaty, wet clothing loses insulation and makes you more susceptible to hypothermia.
  • Calm down and think.
  • Don't run the engine unless the exhaust pipe is free of snow or other objects.  
    • Freezing-wet or wind-driven snow can plug your vehicle's exhaust system.
    • This can cause deadly carbon monoxide gas to enter your vehicle.
  • Keep the radiator free from snow to prevent the engine from overheating.
  • Run the engine at 10 minute intervals for heat.
  • Only turn on the dome light at night when you are running the engine.
  • Loosen tight clothes to keep blood circulating.
  • Change your body position often.
  • Huddle close to other people.
  • Rub your hands together or put them under your armpits or between your legs.
  • Occasionally remove your shoes and rub your feet.
  • Make yourself visible to rescuers.
  • Tie a bright cloth to your antenna or door handle.

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