City of St. Paul Park 

on the Mississippi

Winter survival in your car

Plan Before You Travel
Simple planning can save you trouble and even save your life

Prepare Your Vehicle
Be sure your vehicles is in good winter driving condition.  Take along the emergency equipment and keep it accessible. Keep your gas tank at least one-half full.  Learn more on preparing your vehicle

Be Aware of the Weather
Listen to forecasts, road reports and storm warnings.  Dress appropriately.  Pack extra scarves and mittens.  Allow extra time for trips in sever weather.

Make Yourself Easy to Find
Tel someone where you are going and the route you will take.  Report your safe arrival.  If you stall or get stuck, tie a colored banner to your antenna or hang it out a window.  At night keep your dome light on. Rescue crews can see a small glow at a distance.  To reduce battery drain, use emergency flashers only if you hear approaching vehicles.  Keep one person on watch; don't let everyone rest at the same time.

Stay in Your Vehicle
Walking in a storm can be very dangerous.  You might lose your way or become exhausted, collapse adn risk your life.  Yoru vehicle is a good shelter.

Avoid Overexertion
Shoveling snow or repositioning your car by pushing it takes a lot of effort in storm conditions.  You could risk heart attack or injury. Take it easy!

Keep Cool--Two ways
  1. Calm down and think.  the storm will end and you will be found.
  2. Don't work enough to get hot and sweaty.  Wet clothing loses insulation value, making you susceptible to hypothermia.

Keep Fresh Air in Your Vehicle
It's much better to be cold and awake than comfortably warm and sleepy.  Wet or wind-driven snow can plug your vehicles' exhaust system and cause deadly carbon monoxide gas to enter your vehicle.  Don't run the engine unless you are sure that exhaust pipe is free of snow.  Only run the engine for 10 minutes an hour--keeping a window open a crack while running the engine is also a good idea.  Keep snow off of the radiator to prevent the engine from overheating. 

Stay Warm Without Fuel
Keep your blood circulating freely by loosening tight clothing, changing positions frequently and moving your arms and legs.  Huddle close to one another.  Rub your hands together or put them in your armpits or between your legs.  Remove your shoes occasionally and rub your feet.

Don't Expect to Be Comfortable
The challenge is to survive until you're found.

If you become stranded and you have a cell phone, call 911 to summon help.  In other states you may need to dial 0 to reach an operator.  When you talk with authorities:
  • Provide information on your location, condition of all persons in the vehicle and the problem you are experiencing.
  • Follow instructions; you may be told to stay where you are and wait for rescuers
  • Do not hang up until you know who you have spoken with and what will happen next.
  • If you must leave your vehicle, write down your name, address, phone number and destination.  Place the piece of paper inside the front windshield for someone to see.
City of St. Paul Park, 600 Portland Avenue, St. Paul Park MN 55071