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left coast survivalist
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We've just had a wave of nasty storms here in the Pacific Northwest, and I wanted to give some tips on commuting in winter storms.

I started the week with my long johns, Thermos full of hot tea, plenty of hats and gloves, knive, lighter, headlamp, and Katoolah Microspikes (they are traction aids, and work great!)

As the days went on, the snow never came, so I shed the long johns, and Thermos. Bad idea. Thursday, I left the office at noon, and had a six hour commute home. I spent a couple of hours on a bus crawling down the freeway, then an hour and a half standing around waiting for a train, then had to brave icy roads getting to my place.

Things I did right: I had extra Clif bars and water, headlamp, knife, and lighter, and traction aids for walking. Plus,when sitting on a metal bench waiting for a bus or train, pack a newspaper, or one of those reusable bags to sit on. Really helps to keep insulation from the cold of the metal. That is on my person. I had a flashlight, and tire chains in the trunk of my car.

Things I should have thought of: I should have worn the long johns through the week, and kept the Thermos filled as long as the freezing weather held up. Plus, I should have thrown a few of those chemical hand warmers in my pack to put in my gloves or my shoes.

We're having another massive storm predicted this time with high winds, so I will have everything on me Monday when it's time to face another week.
 

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insulated boots and snowboarding pants.extra protection from the wind.hopefully the wind dont hit down here to bad in south puget sound area.but im prepared if it does.except my kids are going crazy,been stuck at home since weds.
 

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tinfoil bandana
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1,164 Posts
Chemical hand warmers (can be used in boots too), Puffy down jacket, baggy jeans with sweat pants underneath (I work in an industrial shop, office folk may not get away with that) and a T shirt and sweater. Knit Carhartt cap.

Granola bars (I like the taste)
Couple pouches of apple juice.

Car has blankets, extra chemical warmers, and a couple of the old lighter fluid type hand warmers. Portable police band scanner radio. Folding shovel. Big bag of kitty litter.
 

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Prepared
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15,924 Posts
Here in Minnesota we really get nailed on occasion. First survival tip: DON'T travel if the weather looks bad, period. If you have no choice, what I typically do: 4WD Jeep, jumper cables, first aid kit, wool blanket, cell phone, shovel, ice scraper, all tires (and spare) in good shape, dress like a cave man, etc. But there are times when you simply don't want to chance it because it doesn't matter. (They occasionally shut down whole highways and if you end up spending the night somewhere in northern Minnesota or North Dakota in your car it may well be your last. So your #1 tip is to check the weather and stay put if it looks bad.)
 

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Grouchy Infidel
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1,559 Posts
We've got about 175 employees in Minnesota that drive our company vehicles all across the state, including some of those really remote areas in the north and north west. The following was given to them as a means to prepare for potentialities:


Vehicle Related:
1. Always keep a full tank of gas, and refill often. A full tank of fuel will not "ice" up as readily as a partially full tank.
2. If you must use your car engine to heat the vehicle, always check to make sure the exhaust tailpipe is clear. A blocked tail pipe can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning and death. Be sure to open a window when you are running the car engine, and try not to run the engine over 10 minutes in every hour.
3. If you are in a vehicle that is disabled, use bright cloth or surveyor tape, available at hardware and home supply stores, to mark your radio antenna. If you slide off the road and can walk/climb to the roadway, tie markers to any highway signs that are close. A vehicle in the snow quickly becomes invisible unless you make an effort to be seen.
4. If you believe you are going to be stranded for a significant period of time in cold weather, place the emergency space blankets over the windows of your vehicle to reflect body heat and other heat back into the car. Most of the initial heat loss will be through the windows.
5. Your car windows will probably frost over on the inside due to condensation from breathing.
6. DO NOT leave your vehicle unless you can SEE a building to evacuate to, or it is unsafe to remain in your vehicle. If you are in an isolated area and there may be an air search, spread out the tarp on the ground outside to make you more visible from the air. If you need shelter, use rope and the tarp to make a tent. If you leave your vehicle to go cross country or down the road, leave a note in the vehicle so rescuers know which way to proceed.
7. If you must leave your vehicle and there is snow on the ground, use electrical tape to cover your sunglasses(or Rx glasses) leaving a narrow slit to look through. You can tape paper or something dark to the sides of your glasses to provide protection there as well. It is very easy to get a "sunburn on your eyes" when traveling in bright snow conditions.
8. If you leave your vehicle in white-out conditions, tie one end of your 100’ cord to the car before leaving. It is very easy to become disoriented in a white-out.
9. Know the symptoms of hypothermia and frostbite. Be sure to wear a wool cap or other insulating hat to prevent heat loss. Be particularly careful with children, who aren’t as aware of the danger they may be in or their body symptoms.

Emergency Supplies for Vehicle:

• Blanket/space blanket/extra set of overalls
• first aid kit
• windshield scraper
• booster cables
• paper towels
• bag of sand or cat litter (to pour on ice or snow for added traction)
• tow rope
• tire chains (in areas with heavy snow)
• collapsible shovel
• container of water and high-calorie canned or dried foods and a can opener
• flashlight and extra batteries
• canned compressed air with sealant (for emergency tire repair)
• brightly colored cloth
 

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How come nobody has mentioned a can of some sort with candles to make a mini heater?In the midst of a snow storm, you never leave your vehicle, unless the building you're looking at is just a couple hundred feet away, however if visibility is low, remain within the vehicle, because you'll get lost and die, you may drop that line and in blowing snow you are absolutely Fk'd. At all times carry a pocket knife or some sort of multi-tool that has a blade. Fire, fire,fire, disposable butane lighters are almost as cheap as good strike anywhere matches.If you are stuck inside your car and absolutely freezing, cut the covers off the seats, and if the carpet is DRY yank it up off the floor to cover up with. Keep a stainless steel cup with you to warm water over your hobo stove. I also keep a flash light and assorted snacks.
 

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Time to hit reset
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Just to throw my 2 cents worth in... a good practice, I've always done, is to never let your gas tank get below 1/2. Granted, we don't get as much snow here in northern Indiana, as most people in the west or plain states, but if you do slide off the road, and can still run your cars heater, good to have the extra fuel.
Also, if you do run the car's engine until rescued...make sure the exhaust is clear and crack a window, this will prevent carbon monoxide from building up in the cabin.
Oh...and think global warming ;)
 

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Prepared
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Leaving your vehicle -- definitely a bad idea. My only concern would be being hit by another driver if the roads are icy -- or nailed by a snow plow if you're pulled off to the side of the road. On the other hand, if you pull off to a side road you might get snowed in by a drift and not discovered by a passing state trooper, sheriff, trucker, etc.

I've got extended family in northern MN near the North Dakota border where roads sometimes get closed and this has never happened to us. Check the weather before you drive. Meteorology is sometimes a crapshoot 36-48+ hours in advance, but they can predict the next 4-12 hours or a major blizzard very well.
 

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I'm fortunate and unfortunate enough at the same time to work outside. I've always got full Carhart Artic gear, and I'm wearing enough clothing to be able to stand outside for hours on end.

Food and water on the other hand, I'm sometimes lacking if I'm coming back home and have eaten my whole lunch.

In all my vehicles I keep jumper cables, air compressor, plug kit, spare tire, folding shovel.

I need to toss some space blankets in, it's something I've been meaning to do but haven't gotten around to. All that cold weather gear I normally carry will be great for me...but I have nothing in my wife's truck. I think my daughter and her will be in a bit of trouble if something happens and there's no cell service.
 
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