Winter is here in the west. Even in the Rain Forest of Canada, Vancouver, we are covered in snow. Now for us it is just a pretty inconvenience, but on the prairies of North America it is a deadly menace.
This week, several people have died from exposure when they left their cars in search of help. This news prompted me to pass on some old tips. This stuff may sound elementary, but I challenge you to check your car and see if you are ready.
- Make sure your antifreeze levels are ready for winter. Remember that the air that rushes through your radiator makes it seem MUCH colder than the outside temperature. Get a mechanic to check the freezing level of your coolant. If your radiator freezes up, your car will break down in a steaming mess. It is as simple as that.
- Carry Winter Clothes and Boots. You don't have to wear them, just have them in the trunk of your car. Many people go from a warm garage toanother warm garage. But if an accident happens you are stuck out in the cold. Better to have something available to get into fast. Hypothermia and frostbite can happen in minutes.
- Carry a heating source. In the old days ( am I really getting old?) we would carry a roll of toilet paper in a tobacco tin and a bottle of alcohol. The idea whas that you could make an alcohol heater by pouring the alcohol in the tin over the toilet paper. The toilet paper also comes in handy for runny noses and ummm other things ( you'll know when you are stranded!). Nowadays a sterno pot for heating and a few candles, & lighter will work fine. ( remember to leave a crack in your window open for ventilation) The toilet paper is still a good idea for the other things.
- Carry essential tools for survival. A shovel and a tarp and a few energy bars are easy to have ready. A reflective vest makes it easy for people to see you and makes a good flag if your car is snowed under.
DO NOT LEAVE THE CAR.
Everyone who died this week left their car. The highways are patrolled regularly and crews will check stranded vehicles. A frozen body is harder to find. Think about it.