How To Stay Warm In A Car With No Heat
Sometimes I just can’t believe what I read. People get stuck in their cars during a raging winter storm totally unprepared and suffering the consequences. Without heat would you know how to stay warm in a car? Would you be prepared with a small bag of simple supplies such as:
- Extra Clothes
- An emergency road kit
- A thermal blanket or two
Those simple and easy to bring supplies will help you stay warm in a car overnight with a smattering of some comfort.
Why Prep To Keep Warm In A Car
I understand that just because winter comes around that we don’t just hunker down till spring. There are places to go, people to see, and things to do. But winter weather can come in your face fast and furious and sometimes without warning.
A year never goes by without road closures due to expected and unexpected winter ice and snowstorms.
Even if you check the forecast before you leave the comfort of your own home you may find yourself in one of those unexpected weather calamities that will put you and your car in an unmovable snowdrift type of situation.
What are you going to do? Will you be prepared to keep yourself from a hypothermia risk or will you be prepared and know how to stay warm in a car till help arrives or you can get yourself back to moving again.
Before we get into the supply list let’s talk about using your cold car’s own heater. Nothing wrong with that if you pace yourself. You do not want to run out of gas, but there is one very important step to consider.
Your car’s exhaust. If you are stuck in the snow make sure the tailpipe is clear of snow. No snow in it or obstructing it. If it is not clear you may find yourself with carbon monoxide poisoning way before hypothermia sets in.
Basic Supplies To Stay Warm In A Car
Blankets / Thermal Blankets Emergency thermal blankets are a good idea. These inexpensive blankets help you retain body heat and are, windproof, and waterproof. They also take up a fraction of the space the everyday blanket does.
Additional Clothing such as gloves and dry socks in case what you have on gets wet. An extra jacket and sweater so you may ‘layer up’ to stay warm.
Candles When you can’t run your car for long stretches, the darkness can be a pain and a bit depressing on cold winter nights. Candles are just as useful when stranded in your vehicle as they are during a black-out at home. There are safety varieties available so you don’t burn yourself out of your own little shelter.
Emergency Road Kit It would be a good idea to let others know where you are. Just to be found or to avoid someone from crashing into your own car. You can make your own or buy a pre-assembled emergency kit that contains booster cables, road flares, a flashlight, first aid supplies, electrical tape, and a tool or two.
Bottles of Water and Snacks Fuel for yourself will make you a little more comfortable.
Try To Avoid A Cold Car Situation
Common sense is the first thing to consider before you are trying to figure out how to stay warm in a car after you drove it into a snowbank.
First things first. Do you have to make this trip now? Although we can’t always know when brutal weather may strike, there are some common-sense steps you can take before you get into your car.
You should definitely check weather reports before you leave. It is winter after all. Don’t attempt to go out if bad weather is coming, but if you must go tell all involved about your plans such as route, destination, and expected arrival time.
Make sure your cell phone is fully charged and you have a cable to plug into your car receptacle so you may keep it charged.
Make sure you have a full tank of gas and you have some of those emergency supplies we talked about stored in your car.
If You Do Get Stuck In The Snow
It might happen. It happens to many every year. But you are prepared. Right?
First things first.
Stay calm it’s not the end of the world. Your first step is to assess your situation calmly. If you’ve been in a collision, or you drove off the road assess yourself and your passengers first.
If you are OK get on the phone and try to get in touch with the highway patrol or a tow truck operator via an auto club which I hope you are enrolled in.
You might be here a while. You are not the only one stuck.
Stay inside because it is going to be the safest place. So many people are injured or even killed when they venture outside their car to assess the situation because they are hit by another moving vehicle.
But if you feel you can safely get out, do so via the passenger side, and set up some of those warning devices such as flares to warn drivers that you are there and that you are in need of assistance.
Aren’t, you glad you stored an emergency kit in your car?
Check that tailpipe as I mentioned before. You don’t want carbon monoxide poisoning now. Run your car intermittingly so you save gas. You should be bundled up by (in layers) now so you will not have to run your car for heat every minute you are stuck here.
You do not want to run out of gas now.
Body heat will go a long way now. If you have company in your cold car try to huddle up together. Try your best to keep moving in your confined area by moving and shaking out those arms and legs to keep circulation going to create more body heat.
Additional Emergency Supplies
I always feel you can never have too much when it comes to emergency supplies in the car regardless of the time of year.
They will not take up much space if packaged properly and they will not only help you to stay warm in a car during the cold weather, they may even save your life at any time during the year.
Emergency road flares should be in your emergency or bug-out bag. One of the biggest concerns, when your car breaks down, is being visible to other cars passing on the road.
Especially during winter storms. They can greatly reduce other drivers’ ability to see you. If your vehicle is in a dangerous location out of sight, you will want rescuers to see you. Keeping flares and reflectors in your trunk will help in both situations.
Ice scraper and brush You can’t leave without seeing out your window and that brush may come in handy to clear that tailpipe of snow after you drove into that snowbank.
Sand will help you to get some needed traction under your wheels if you do get stuck in the snow. Kitty litter will help also and it is a lot lighter than a 50-pound bag of sand. There are traction mats available but I found they mostly just get launched into the air when trying to use them. Just saying.
A Shovel in the wintertime. Who knew. Seriously a shovel would be a great tool to have in your car during winter travel but they are clumsy when it comes time to find space in your trunk for one most people will not bother. Collapsible ones are available but consider the clumsy ones if you are going on one of those must trip during the winter.
A first-aid kit should always be in your car regardless of the season. You never know when you will need a band-aid or some kind of hygiene item. Make sure it’s a good one. They fit quite easily under the seat.
A flashlight is another all-season must-have. Getting a flat tire in the dark is a lot easier than getting stuck in the snow during the day. Cell phone flashlights come in handy, but they are clumsy and you’ll want to conserve your phone charge as much as possible.
A rope or tow strap could come in handy when stuck in that snowbank. Someone might be able to help out pull your car out of that situation. Or maybe you could be that good Samaritan.
A pocket jumper is an item you should consider as an all-season item in your car. They can get your car out of a dead battery situation after you come out of the mall and find your car will not start to do to a dead battery.
Tools when I was younger I always had tools in my car. Now, for the most part, they are not of much use in today’s over-engineered cars. You need a college degree to just look at today’s engines.
But having one of those all-in-one multitools could come in handy to break a windshield and cut a seatbelt if needed to get out of the car.
Paper maps should be part of your survival gear. Call me old-fashioned. But I do not always trust those GPS things on the phone or a dedicated one to always work. If you are lost or you need to go around a situation a good old-fashioned paper map would be invaluable.
Cash is always a good idea to be included in a survival kit. Though I am not suggesting you use it to start a fire to keep warm in your car, no one will ever turn down cash when something might be needed by you in a crisis situation.