What to do if you get stranded in winter

If the worst happens and you get stuck in your car, don't panic. Follow our simple advice and you'll be prepared if you have to spend the night in your car...

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What Car? team
25 November 2018

What to do if you get stranded in winter

Getting stuck in your car is one of the most dangerous pitfalls of winter driving, whether you find yourself snowbound or just held in traffic. Here are a few simple measures that you can take to help:

Prepare an emergency kit

The items we've listed previously (layers, a blanket, food, water etc.) will come in very handy should you have to spend the night in your car.

Keep the engine running when possible

It will keep you warm and stop the engine freezing in extreme conditions. Always keep your fuel tank topped up. If you have to spend the night in the car, make sure that you turn the engine on at least once an hour and run it for a few minutes.

What to do if you get stranded in winter

Heater and heated seats

Make sure that you only run these when the engine is turned on, otherwise you risk flattening the battery.

If you have to leave the car

Make sure you are clearly visible to other road users and that your car is as well. Try to stop in such a way that the road is clear for emergency services. If there is a barrier at the side of the road, stand behind it. Make a note of where your car is; roadside markers or your smartphone can provide you with this information.

If you're stranded in a remote location

Don't leave your car. It will protect you from the elements and make it easier for the emergency services to find you.

What if you have to spend the night in the car?

Most importantly: don't panic. Get your emergency kit together and put on extra clothing. Lock all the doors and try to sleep. Start the engine every hour to run the heating for a few minutes. If heavy snow is falling, make sure the exhaust pipe is clear of obstructions before turning the engine on.

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