Winter is here, which means plenty of travel for the holidays and lots of adventures through snowy environments and mountain passes. Before you head out to more rural and remote areas this season, take some time to stock your vehicle with tire chains, a portable shovel, flashlight, lighter/matches, extra clothes, blankets, kitty litter (for traction), water, and food. Carry this kit with you throughout the winter, even if you don’t think you’ll be encountering snow. Mountain weather conditions can change quickly, and cell phone reception is never as reliable in alpine environments.
Before your trip, you should make sure to notify a friend or family member as to where you’re going, when you’re leaving, and your expected arrival time. Also fill up the car with gas — the extra fuel might mean the difference between freezing and staying warm if you get stranded.
If you do find yourself stuck in the snow, you can use the shovel, tire chains, and litter, as well as your car jack to try and get your vehicle unstuck and turned around. If getting out of the snow is impossible, you’ll need to survive until help arrives. Leaving your car is rarely a good idea in snowy conditions because of the risk of getting lost and suffering hypothermia. It’s typically better to hunker down until you’re rescued. Here’s what to do until you are.