Dress To Survive

         We’ve all heard that old adage, “Dress for success!” Looking your best is, for most people, a subconscious event that occurs every minute of the day. We want to be perceived as successfully, or intelligent, or, for some, wealthy. There’s nothing wrong with dressing to look your best. For the modern day prepper, though, it’s wise to add a layer of practicality to your wardrobe.
         With the winter weather fast approaching, we are often too busy dealing with the holidays to concern ourselves with safety or even survival. As a child, how often can you remember your parents saying, “Just throw a coat on, we’re only going to be outside for a second while we unload the car?” You put on your Sunday best, which involves nice looking –but not weather ready– clothes, and pile into the van. Your parents, dare I say it, were right most of the time (there, I said it, mom). Usually, you wear a jacket just to keep you from getting covered in snow in the thirty seconds you have to leave the car and get to the front of a store or relative’s house. But what happens if that casual family outing turns into a drastic story for survival?
         If you take your prepping seriously, then you have to entertain the idea that anytime, anywhere disaster can strike. You have to be as prepared as you can possibly be for winter emergencies. Having warm clothes, a way to start fire, or even something as simple as a blanket can be the difference between life and death. Each year approximately 100,000 people freeze to death due to cold conditions. Of those, 70% ice and snow related deaths occur inside an automobile. Another 25% of those are people who’s car became stranded and they wondered out into a storm to seek help, but instead went to their deaths. The statistics don’t lie. Around 95% of winter deaths occur while people are away from their home and trying to get somewhere in their car. According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, approximately 10% of all accidents in 2009 were caused, at least in some part, by the snowy or icy road conditions. Starting to get the picture? Winter weather is nothing to play around with.
         When you are dressing to leave the house in cold temperatures, remember this motto: Dress to Survive, not to Arrive. It just might save your life. Sure, maybe a t-shirt and jeans and light leather jacket might be enough to walk to your car, and then get out of it at the end of your journey. But what if you lose control of your car? You hit a patch of black ice and your car swerves off the road and goes down a bank. All of a sudden, that t-shirt and jeans with a light jacket seems like a bad idea. Dress warm with thick boots (always check your boots for holes to avoid water getting in your shoe) thick socks, a warm non-cotton sweater (try wool, it will keep you warm even if it gets you wet), an undershirt, and pants that will help keep your body heat in. You might not be the most fashionable person in the room, but you’ll never have to worry about freezing to death. Even if it doesn’t seem that cold out, always take your coat, hat, gloves, and any other garments –scarf, ski-mask, etc– with you. If you don’t need them, then just leave them in the car. But never venture out without at least the bare necessities for winter weather. Remember, it’s easy to take layers off if you get too warm, but if you’re too cold there’s no way to make clothes appear out of nowhere.
         As always, keep your car winter ready as well. Check the fluids regularly. Keep emergency supplies in your car including, but not limited to: flares, a blanket, a lighter, can of burning fuel gel, case of water, food for a couple of days, emergency space blanket, extra pair of clothes, and something to give your wheels traction should you get stuck. A nice piece of cardboard, an old floor mat or rug, or maybe some snow chains if you can afford them. Know your area. If your state is prone is bad winter weather, you should make yourself that much more prepared. If you’ve lived there long enough, you know the annual routine of winter. Saying “I didn’t know” when a tragedy happens won’t be enough to save yourself or your family. Be aware that accidents can happen anytime, and they normally occur when you least expect them. Stay safe, stay aware, and most of all, stay warm.

         For more tips on staying warm if you get stranded, check out THIS article by Off Grid Survival.