Winter Tips: Stranded Vehicle

stranded-vehiclePrint a Sign-In Sheet | Spanish Version

If a winter storm strands you in your vehicle:

  • Stay in the vehicle and do not leave the vehicle to search for assistance unless help is visible within 100 yards. You may become disoriented and lost in blowing and drifting snow.
  • Turn on your hazard lights, call for help and display a trouble sign by hanging a brightly colored cloth on the radio antenna and raising the hood if you can do so safely. You can also turn on the vehicle’s dome light when the vehicle is running as an additional signal.
  • Turn on the vehicle’s engine for about 10 minutes each hour and run the heat to keep warm. Beware of carbon monoxide poisoning. Keep the exhaust pipe clear of snow, and open a downwind window slightly for ventilation.
  • Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia and do minor exercises to keep up circulation. Clap hands and move arms and legs occasionally. Try not to stay in one position for too long. If more than one person is in the vehicle, take turns sleeping.
  • For warmth, huddle together and use newspapers, maps, and even the removable car mats for added insulation.
  • Avoid overexertion since cold weather puts an added strain on the heart. Unaccustomed exercise such as shoveling snow or pushing a vehicle can bring on a heart attack or make other medical conditions worse.
  • Be aware of symptoms of dehydration – signs include dry, sticky mouth, thirst, muscle weakness, headache, and dizziness. Eat and drink regularly, if possible, but avoid alcohol and caffeine as these can further dehydrate your body.


KEMI does not assume liability for the content of information contained herein. Safety and health remain your responsibility. This information is to be used for informational purposes only and not intended to be exhaustive or a substitute for proper training, supervision or manufacturers’ instructions/recommendations. KEMI, by publication of this information, does not assume liability for damage or injury arising from reliance upon it. Compliance with this information is not a guarantee or warranty that you will be in conformity with any laws or regulations nor does it ensure the absolute safety of any person, place or object, including, but not limited to, you, your occupation, employees, customers or place of business.