Simple Things for Winter Survival

By Dr. Tim Fargo, Chiropractor

I don’t know about you, but there have been many instances in my life when I found myself exposed to extreme weather in my car. I’ve traveled cross-country quite a bit and done a lot of driving in the mountains. Sometimes I failed to appreciate the full gravity of what might have happened if I’d gone off the road, had a flat tire, or was stuck in a white- out. The events of this past week wherein many hundreds of people were stuck on a 50 mile stretch of highway in Virginia for over 24 hours in white-out conditions underscores the importance of being prepared, like a Boy Scout. Those folks were on a very well traveled interstate and would never have imagined that they could have been caught in the way they were.

Seeing the story unfold put me in mind of an experience that I had when I was very new in practice, almost 40 years ago. We had a family of patients who were driving in southern Minnesota during a blizzard. Their car went into a snow drift, and they were not able to get out. A farmer came by and offered to take the children to his house just up the road. He said that he would come back with a tractor to pull them out. The parents declined his offer. When the farmer got to his house, he was barely able to make it up his own driveway and was unable to return with the tractor. The whole family, mom, dad, grandma, and two children died of exposure in that car. Simple measures could have saved them and could save you.

winter survival
winter survival, Edina chiropractor

Here is a list of items that we should all carry in our cars.

  1. A blanket or two. If you are in the car with someone else, then wrapping both of you huddled in a blanket can preserve a great deal of body heat. If you are by yourself, then a blanket is even more essential. Even a foil space blanket can make a difference.
  2. Some warm clothing: Carry some snow boots, extra gloves, and a hat. Even if you are “just going to the office”, things can happen that necessitate you getting out of your car. Think about it.
  3. Some extra, non-perishable food and water. You will have to bring the water with you when you leave, otherwise it is likely to be frozen in Minnesota.
  4. Small LED flashlight. I particularly like the LED headlamps that allow you to use both hands while you are lighting your way or doing a task.
  5. Cell phone charger. A cell phone can be a lifeline, but only so long as it stays charged. If you can run your car, then you can charge your phone and can alert first responders and family as to your whereabouts and health.
  6. A candle heater. What? Yes, a candle, a lighter, and a tin can, like a clean paint can (you can buy them at Home Depot, Menards, etc). Light the candle, put it in the bottom of the can with a bit of melted wax and now you have a little heater. Simple and effective.
  7. Portable air compressor or even those aerosol cans of “Fix-A-Flat” that allow you to inflate a tire long enough to make it to safety without having to change a tire in the bitter cold. Been there, done that.
  8. Jumper cables. If your battery, or someone else’s, goes dead, then a set of jumper cables are indispensable.
  9. A simple tool kit: Screwdrivers, pliers, adjustable wrench, some duct tape. You never know when a simple repair can get you back on the road to safety.
  10. A shovel. Either a full-on snow shovel, or a folding shovel. If you are stuck, or you want to help someone who is, you are going to be very happy to have a shovel.
  11. A bag of Safety Absorbent. While we are on the subject of getting stuck, a small bag of the stuff that is used to soak up oil on a garage floor can help give you the traction you need. Cat litter works too, but this stuff is better.
  12. A simple First Aid kit. This is the kind of thing you can find on Amazon, or at your local drug store.

There are probably other things, but these are the basics. Throw all of it in a box or bin and keep it in your trunk for the winter months. At Chiropractic Health and Wellness, we care about your health, and also about your survival. Please let us know how we can help you and your family thrive in the winter months. Call us or schedule an appointment online.

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