Snowstorms are a common occurrence at this time of the year in the northern areas of Pakistan and warrant a lot of care and consideration by travelers for them to avoid inconveniences.
It is best to be prepared before embarking on a journey in the snow. Snowstorms can be sudden and severe and can cause travelers to get stranded on the road for days. If the apt preparations are complete, travelers can wait out a storm with convenience. In case of dire situations, here are some safety tips to follow in a car.
Remain Inside Your Car
It is wise to stay inside the car when stuck on the road in a snowstorm. A car can act as a shelter and keep you warm and safe.
Gordon Giesbrecht, a professor at the University of Manitoba who has researched human responses to extreme environments, believes that the car is the safest place to be in until the storm subsides. He told New York Times:
No matter how cold it is inside the car, it will be colder outside. Resist the temptation to head out and find help, he added. If you go outside, you could get hypothermia or become lost. Instead, generate heat by turning on the car for up to 10 minutes every hour. Any longer could waste gas.
Experts state that the driver should only leave the car to check and clear the exhaust tips to mitigate the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
It is essential to dress warmly to avoid losing body heat. “Maximizing body heat by hugging your chest and putting your hands in your armpits can also help a great deal,” Giesbrecht advises.
He added that younger people are prone to losing body heat quickly, and it is important for them to keep their chests and heads warm. Wearing a cap and using a blanket are greatly effective in such situations.
For those traveling with pets, it is important to keep them within the passenger cabin with their food and supplies, a blanket, and a special emergency kit to keep them safe and warm.
Stay Nourished and Energized
Under extreme cold conditions, it is best to remain well-nourished and energized. Travelers must rely on food items that are rich in calories and carbohydrates as they generate energy, warmth, and offer better sustenance. Such foods include dry fruit, chocolates, and granola bars.
One must also remain hydrated to stay fresh. The dryness and the intense cold can result in dehydration and a number of other problems. It is best to not smoke in such situations as high doses of nicotine or intoxicants can disorient the consumer.
Other essentials include bottled water and wipes in case a person feels the need to relieve themselves. Also, it is advisable not to use smartphones excessively and save your mobile phone’s battery in case of an emergency. It is better to do small exercises in the car to keep warm and entertained.
General Road Awareness in Snow
It is imperative for the stranded to remain visible to rescuers. While the engine is on, the driver must keep the hazard lights or dome lights on to be easily spotted.
Tying a bright-colored cloth to your antenna or door can also help. Once the storm subsides, the drivers may also lift the bonnets of their cars to signal for assistance.
When the weather allows it, drive slowly and apply the brakes and steer gently to avoid skidding. Maintaining a safe distance from other vehicles is crucial to avoid accidents. Also, tire pressure can drop quickly in cold weather and must be monitored frequently.
Extreme weather conditions can be very unforgiving for even the toughest of journeymen and adventurers, which is why it is advisable for people to stay indoors under such circumstances and only make the journey in case of an emergency, with complete preparations for the unlikeliest of situations.
Stay safe everyone!