Nothing is more enjoyable than going out on a snowy day. The scenery of freshly-fallen snow can be absolutely romantic. A day of clean air while sledding, skiing or skating could do your body a world of good - but a good time could quickly take a treacherous turn for the worst, should you find yourself caught in the middle of an unexpected blizzard. Taking a few minutes to make sure you are properly prepared for such an event could make the difference between survival or disaster. Sometimes, we can't avoid driving in a snowstorm, but when you're out on the road in bad weather, you need to be prepared in case you get stuck or have to pull over and wait the storm out. Carry a blanket in your trunk at all times, as you need to stay warm.
Don't scrimp on quality and make sure the blanket is heavy enough to provide plenty of warmth. If you don't have the shelter of a car while you're stuck in a blizzard, it's important to find some sort of shelter from the elements, especially the wind. Anything that can provide protection from the wind will help, and cover all your exposed skin, including your face, if you can. If you can't find shelter, try to build yourself some, by banking up snow or even digging a small cave. Use tree branches or anything else you can find that might be good for a lean-to.
Be creative. Also, try to start a fire to help keep you warm and to attract attention. You have probably heard that you should eat snow to stay hydrated when caught in a blizzard. This advice is actually harmful.
If you eat fresh snow, the cold temperature of the snow will lower your body temperature. Your body will need to expend much needed calories to warm up the snow, robbing you of energy that you will need to survive. Snow is, however, a good source of hydration when caught in a snowstorm. What you must do is melt the snow first. Then you can drink the resulting water.
The warmer you can make the melted snow, the better off you will be. Stay inside the car if you can. Your car will be your shelter and your heat source until help arrives. Run the car once an hour for a few minutes (ten at the most) to heat the interior. Don't waste gas by running the engine much more than that.
Clear the snow away from the exhaust or else the fumes can back up into the car. Make sure to move around too, as you need to keep your circulation up to stay warm. When stranded with other people, take advantage of the extra body heat by sticking close.
John Edmond runs writes regularly for Living And Camping Outdoors where you can read many more articles on outdoor safety and outdoor survival skills.