Winter Stranded Vehicle Safety Tips

DF SafetyHealth and Safety Tips

We have been lucky to have some milder winter weather this December in Alberta, but it is certainly not what we are used to this time of year! It’s hard to believe that we are inching towards Christmas and there is yet to be much snow on the ground.  

As we head into 2024, the likelihood of this drier weather continuing is not likely. So, we thought we would discuss some safety tips to keep in mind should you find yourself stranded in your vehicle when the temperature drops. 

  • Stay calm 

We know that nobody likes to hear someone tell you to “calm down!” However, when you find yourself in a potentially dangerous situation, it is key to not panic. While it is natural to give in to panic, keeping calm and in control can prevent fear from clouding your judgement and making bad decisions. Therefore, if you are stranded in your vehicle, take several deep breaths, and compose yourself so that you can make an action plan. 

  • Stay in your vehicle 

While it might be tempting to leave your vehicle and go locate help, always stay in your vehicle if it is safe. If you are in a secluded area or traveled somewhere you aren’t familiar, you can easily get lost and find yourself in danger in the freezing cold.  

Your vehicle can provide shelter and warmth. It’s easier to see a car than a person, so don’t venture off! It’s also a good idea to turn on your hazard lights so that you are visible to other motorists. 

  • Reach out 

If you have your cell phone, send a message along with your location to a friend or family member. If you don’t have cell service, you can send a text message. If you can’t do these, you can also call 911 without cell service. 

  • Conserve battery 

Be sure to turn off any nonessential electrical components to conserve your vehicle battery. You also want to use your heat sparingly so that you don’t use all your fuel. 

  • Be prepared 

Prior to travelling, especially in the winter, ensure that you have an emergency preparedness kit as a precaution. Here are some key items you will want to include: 

  • A flashlight 
  • Extra batteries 
  • Band-Aids and disinfectant 
  • Jumper cables 
  • A shovel 
  • Flares 
  • A tire repair kit and pump 
  • Matches and a candle that can burn for an extended amount of time 
  • Blankets 
  • Warm clothing, including footwear and socks 
  • Medications (if you have any) 
  • Snacks and water 
  • Portable charger 
  • Update along the way 

It is always a good idea to inform someone of your travel plans, including your expected time of arrival, and update along the way. If someone is expecting you at a certain time and you don’t show up within a reasonable amount of time, they will know that something has possibly gone wrong. They will also have a better idea of where you might be. 

The best plan of action is to plan and prepare. Check the weather and road conditions before travelling, ensure your vehicle is operating properly, and that you have the supplies you might need in case of an emergency.  

DF Safety also offers an online course, Stranded in Your Vehicle in Winter, providing an understanding of why it’s important to make the correct preparations before winter driving. Contact us today if you have any questions.