What should you do when there is a blizzard outside? Stay inside, obviously. But what if you had to go out for some reason? What if you even had to start up your car and drive somewhere? You should still stay inside. But if you still decide to leave, here are some things that you might want to do to survive.
Let’s get one thing out of the way first: snow makes everything seem eerily quiet. This is due to the tiny holes found in snow drifts which absorb sound. Another reason is that we all tend to stay inside during a blizzard.
In 2015, 20 people were caught by and succumbed to the effects of winter weather. That is not a large number as more people die in their bathtubs every year, but it still gives us something to think about. The difference is that dying in a blizzard is easier to avoid.
Here are just some of the ways people may die in a blizzard:
This is a very common one. People are often unaware of how difficult shoveling snow is. Even if you’ve done it before, you probably forgot since it is done so rarely. And the wetter the snow, the harder it becomes. So if you have a heart condition or are getting up there in age, make sure you find someone to do it for you.
Freezing to Death
There aren’t many worse ways to go than by freezing to death. You are in tremendous pain, but you slowly start shutting down, and there is nothing you can do about it. Some people can recover from freezing completely, but not all of us are that lucky.
One thing you need to do is either find shelter or keep moving constantly to keep the blood flowing. Drinking alcohol, even though it seems like it is warming you up inside, it is not a good idea. What you are feeling is the alcohol’s vasodilating effect. This opens up your blood vessels, and temporarily you are warmer, but all the extra blood is now near the surface of your skin, and it cools more easily. To avoid this stay inside or dress accordingly.
Freezing to Death: Car Edition
If you must travel by car, you still need to dress accordingly. People often do not realize how intensely the snow is falling and how fast it will pile up around you, leaving you stranded in your car. As soon as you run out of gas things get increasingly dangerous. So it is best to keep your car running but just enough to get the minimum temperature necessary to survive. And whatever you do, do not leave your vehicle. You will have no orientation due to the sun being blocked, and even if you find your course, you will probably freeze to death before reaching your desired destination.
Another thing that can happen while in your car is that your tailpipe gets clogged and you slowly start to suffocate to death. The only good thing is that due to carbon monoxide poisoning you pass out before suffocating. So check your tailpipe often when stuck in a blizzard.
Losing control of your car is also a real possibility in these extreme conditions so take extra care while driving. Break slowly, accelerate slowly, turn slowly.
Slip and Slide
Last but not least, there is slipping and falling. Just in 2015, 111 deaths were reported from falling on ice. It is one thing to fall when you are ice-skating, it’s another when you unexpectedly slam your head against the icy pavement.
Alexandra grew up dreaming of being a great science explorer. She always wanted to travel the world and explore some of the greatest science mysteries of the times. After high school, she studied chemistry in college and spent most of her summers working on research projects alongside her professors. It was there that Alexandra got clarity about what she wanted to do in the future. She now works full time in science research at a teaching university and is planning to go to medical school in a few years. She likes to stay up-to-date with the latest discoveries in science and share her love for science through her writing.