Survival Survival Skills

How to Survive When Your Vehicle Gets Stuck in a Snow Drift

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Last week the Newshound blog reported on a Nome, Alaska man who survived being stranded in his truck on a deserted, frigid road for 60 hours. His name was Clifton Vial and his main source of nourishment? Beer.

Vial’s truck slipped off the road and with only jeans, a light jacket and a pair of sneakers the 52-year-old man was able to stay alive in -17 degree temperatures until help arrived. Here’s my analysis on what he did right and what he did wrong in this situation.

What He Did Right**

The most important thing Vial did right was to stay with the truck. Given the cold temperatures and his poor clothing choice, he would have suffered serious frost bite in further attempts to dig his truck out. In the wind, the situation would have been worsened and he would have probably died of hypothermia had he tried to leave the truck to look for help.

What He Did Wrong

Normally Vial carried a sleeping bag, extra gasoline and other survival gear in his truck, like anyone should when living in such cold and remote areas. But on this trip he had very few supplies; no food, no water, no extra clothes, no extra fuel, not even his dogs who normally ride with him on drives.

Let’s use this man’s struggle as a cautionary tale about the emergencies that winter can dish out. Let’s all keep sleeping bags, food, water, tools and supplies in our vehicles. And dress appropriately for the weather. It’s better to have too much stuff, than to get caught out in the cold with too little.

Have you been stuck somewhere with too little gear, or been in a situation where no one knew you were in trouble? First off, we’re glad you’re still here, and secondly, please share your story with us in the comments.