Most people would say the best thing to do during a blizzard is stay inside. However, that advice doesn’t help if you get caught in one that starts when you are already on the road. If you absolutely need to get somewhere then you might just have to put on your big winter coat and brave the snow storm. In any case, it is a good idea to be prepared for a blizzard during the winter months.
In Ontario towns and cities the number of days when there is snowfall during the winter can be anywhere from twenty-two days if you’re in Chatham-Kent up to ninety-six if you’re in Big Trout Lake. According to weather data collected over a thirty year period, some places in Ontario get an average of over 3 metres of snow per year. Of course, these aren’t all blizzards, but here a few tips on dealing with that extreme if you’re stuck on the road.
Prepare Before the Storm
The best thing you can do for yourself to make sure you never miss a day of your car repair course is to prepare a winter supply kit for your vehicle. If you get caught in a storm there are things you can do to stay safe and warm, but you can make it easier on yourself if you keep these items in your car:
- Blanket or sleeping bag
- Candles and matches or flashlight
- Signal light, reflective warning triangles, flares
Some also advise to have at least a half-tank of gas during the winter at all times just in case you’re stuck for a long time. The same thing goes for keeping your cell phone battery charged.
Use Your Mechanic Training and Think Before You Act
If there is poor visibility, make sure you have a clear idea of what is going on and where you are before you get out of your vehicle. It may also be helpful to check a weather app and get a traffic report before you decide what to do. Either way, keep your hazards blinking!
If you routinely have long drives to get to mechanic training or elsewhere and the conditions can be bad on your regular routes, you may also want to add a fluorescent safety vest to your supply kit so when you get out of your vehicle you’re more visible. Once you’re outside you can decide if there is a way to get un-stuck, or if you will have to wait.
If You Have to Wait in the Car
When you’re stuck in a blizzard, you may keep your car running to stay warm. If you do this, make sure your tailpipe is clear of snow so carbon monoxide doesn’t leak into the car. Also, if you are turning your vehicle on and off to balance warming up with conserving fuel, check your tailpipe each time to make sure it’s still not blocked. Try doing exercises periodically to help keep your body warm.
Another thing to remember is it’s important to stay with your vehicle because you will be easier to find (unless there’s a building you can walk to safely). Between exercises, you may also want to keep your seatbelt on just in case another car accidentally bumps you. For the most part, surviving winter driving is a matter of preparation and common sense.
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