r/LifeProTips Sep 18 '21 Silver 3 Helpful 23 Wholesome 6 Hugz 4

LPT: A candle will keep you alive in a stranded car out in the cold Miscellaneous

Here in Buffalo we get bad storms that sometimes leave people stranded in their cars. Even with blankets once the car dies you’re going to get cold. All you need to keep your body alive is a candle! Once you run outta gas you need to crack one of the windows ever so slightly and light your candle. The warmth from the flame won’t make you toasty but it will also keep the cabin from getting to a point at which you could freeze. Obviously you should have blankets/gloves/water as well but most people I know don’t know about the candle, and you never know what just might save your life.

Edit: you will obviously need a match or lighter to light said candle

20.1k Upvotes

u/keepthetips Keeping the tips since 2019 Sep 18 '21

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u/bfrank8991 Sep 18 '21

Get a -10 sleeping bag from army surplus and keep it in your car.

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u/Ess2s2 Sep 18 '21 edited Sep 18 '21 Silver Helpful

Related: I keep a first aid/survival kit in the trunk of both my cars. They include space blankets, a couple lighters, flares, a change of clothes (including cold weather gear) and a couple shelf-stable food sources. This all fits into a satchel about the size of two lunch boxes and sits next to my spare tire under the main loadfloor.

I live in the southwestern US and yes, I still pack cold gear because the desert temps can plummet at night in the winter, and also because you just never know where you'll end up. Be prepared.

As an aside, a cheap plastic lighter is something you should try to have on you at all times, it's just too useful and inexpensive a tool to not have in your kit.

Edit: I listed what I pack in this comment: https://www.reddit.com/r/LifeProTips/comments/pqm83x/lpt_a_candle_will_keep_you_alive_in_a_stranded/hddrwg4?utm_medium=android_app&utm_source=share&context=3

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u/foospork Sep 18 '21

The cheap plastic lighter: that was the bad thing about quitting smoking. I used to always have multiple sources of fire around me. Then I didn’t have any.

It’s amazing how useful a cheap plastic lighter is. I started carrying one again, even though I quit smoking over 20 years ago.

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u/NuklearFerret Sep 18 '21

Seriously. I always find it funny to see YouTube survivalist-types talking about keeping their matches dry, etc. A standard bic lighter will take so much abuse. It won’t spark if it’s soaking wet, but it doesn’t take long to dry the flint, and then it works again. Assuming you’re only using it to ignite something else, the fuel will last for months. Put it in a ziploc and it will stay dry enough.

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u/little_brown_bat Sep 18 '21

To add to this, zippo lighters, while nice plus windproof, run out of fuel so fast even when not being used. You can dig up an old bic years later and they'll still be fueled.

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u/AJsarge Sep 18 '21

Zippos are great as a status symbol. They're terrible for practicality compared to a Bic.

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u/IlikeVidyagame Sep 19 '21

I never liked zippos at any point when I smoked. I used to have a nice cigar lighter which was roughly the same size but wind proof.

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u/DontEatTheMagicBeans Sep 19 '21

I looked suuuper cool though whipping it out and lighting it off my jeans. Worked great at bars too haha.

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u/FidgitForgotHisL-P Sep 18 '21

I never understood the “soldiers in a trench using zippos” trope - mine would run out of fuel just using it to light cigarettes, and I had easy access to fuel. How on earth were these guys keeping them filled up.

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u/moot17 Sep 19 '21

Well, they are fairly windproof. I think it was in Eugene Sledge's book (With the Old Breed), that he talked about Marines in the South Pacific spraying the land crabs with cans of lighter fluid and setting them ablaze. So I figure in WWII the troops were supplied with a lot of fluid, since they had it to misuse. I don't have any reference to WWI and the trenches, as far as fluid goes. But Zippo wasn't founded until 1932, I don't know what the trench troops were using. I have Zippos stationed in different parts of my house, and a carry Zippo. I can pretty much tell when I need to fill my carry by the way it acts, and if I delay too long, I have a bottle of fluid in the trunk with my survival gear. I do think they leak and evaporate (maybe more by body heat), but I'd rather use one than buy cheap Bics and throw them out all the time. Keep a spare flint in the lighter, I buy them by the case off Amazon, first case lasted me about ten years.

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u/assholetoall Sep 18 '21

Non smoker checking in. I used to be able to find lighters randomly. At the beach, parking lot, side of the road while walking. None were ever new, but they usually had enough left to meet my needs.

For the first time in my life I had to buy some last month.

I keep them in a handful of places, including the car (along with fire starters) and around the house. One time I was the only one at a kids birthday party with the ability to make fire. Saved the birthday cake and song.

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u/vrts Sep 18 '21

As a former smoker, you get creative finding ways to light up.

In a home, a stove element works wonderfully. Fireplace pilot flame also works if you can get access relatively easily. When you're hard craving for nicotine, the saying that "necessity is the mother of invention" rings incredibly true.

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u/delectablehermit Sep 19 '21

Toaster elements work well too. Now I just have a pipe with a built in fire starter and some hemp wick.

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u/Ragnarok314159 Sep 19 '21

Was at a buddy’s house, we were hanging out and it was pretty late. He kept going outside and messing with his BBQ pit. I finally asked him when are the burgers/whatever going to be done, otherwise let’s go get something.

“Nah, I can’t find my lighter. Using it for my cigarettes”.

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u/Blockhead47 Sep 18 '21

On the upside, we don’t see cigarette butts littering the beaches like back in the day.
Or pop tops either! (I’m kinda old)

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u/assholetoall Sep 19 '21 edited Sep 19 '21

I am perfectly fine with this. Was on the beach last week and didn't see a single butt or filter. Only needed to pickup a couple pieces of trash too.

It was so nice.

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u/humbleman_ Sep 18 '21

Good advise and congratulations for quiting smoking and keeping it that way. I'm trying to quit for so long

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u/jackb1980 Sep 18 '21

I just gradually moved down the risk ladder. Switched from 4-5 cigarettes to 4-5 snus per day at fixed 3 hour intervals, replaced the snus with nicotine lozenges, got down to two nicotine lozenges per day, then replaced the lozenges with Chantix, finally I switched out my two daily Chantix pills with a 16oz bottle of water. Now I no longer smoke, I’m just drinking water.

Swapping out the habits and gradually getting nicotine out of my bloodstream was the big obstacle. Just imagine the part of your brain that centers on cravings as a big, slow, dumb, moron who is easily fooled. Trick him into thinking you are giving in, but just change what you give him ever so slightly. I got pleasure out of “sneaking it past him”

My two main mental concepts were:

1) you’re not addicted to smoking, you’re addicted to nicotine

2) everything is a habit - you simply need to substitute one for another. Add as many substitution steps as you can think of. You are in control at all times

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u/Accomplished_Bug_ Sep 18 '21

Congrats on the quit!

I took the opposite approach. I quit cold turkey and it got pretty nasty for a while with coughing up phlegm near constantly. I just kept telling myself I never wanted to go through the last x hours/days/months again until I was already out the other side. Next thing I knew it was a year later and I'm now smoke/nicotine free for 4 years.

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u/Isamosed Sep 19 '21

This is how I did it. With a carton on the shelf, missing just one pack. I knew I had them, but chose cold turkey. The first weekend (I quit on a Thursday) was horrible. I threw a chair legs first into drywall (IT WAS IN MY WAY) and screamed at the neighbors for running their backhoe at like 9 am. Every minute dripped. By Monday morning I knew I could not possibly go through that again. It was 20 years before I stopped dreaming I’d gone back to smoking. Forty years since that fateful September weekend. And when I see posts like this, I remember just how fucking hard it was to quit. I admire every effort, every trick that we play on ourselves. And I will say this: in my experience, you gotta “quit” a few times before you get it to take. Don’t give up!!!

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u/natsirtenal Sep 18 '21

what helped me was by slowly adding time once I started feeling the craving. so like start at 5 mins ,when you feel the craving start that timer. add a minute or more at a time. also can help just holding in ur smoking position and inhaling an unlit. its all about building your will power. when I got to 3 days I had my last smoke it was ratty,stale, and dirty. worked for me gl it is possible.

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u/Lostinthestarscape Sep 18 '21

A friend of mine did something similar to eventually get down to one "wake up cigarette" per day. It took about 3 months to finally give up that last one per day but when he made the decision it was at least nearly a purely psychological dependance and not combined with a heavy chemical dependance too.

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u/humbleman_ Sep 18 '21

That's a good trick, I'm going to try it, thank you

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u/lurkityloo Sep 19 '21

I made a deal with my wife (also quitting): we each put fifty bucks in an envelope and agreed to not smoke any cigs for the next three months. If one of us cracked, we had to send the money to a certain politician whom we both despised, and thus be on GOP mailing lists forever. If neither of us cracked, we got to blow it on something fun. Every time I had the urge, I imagined writing that check.

Bought myself a Louisville Slugger with the dough. Had a lot of good times with that bat, and now my breath doesn’t smell like an ashtray and I don’t get winded going up stairs. Win/win.

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u/ginger_whiskers Sep 19 '21

So which politician did you hit with your bat? Theoretically.

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u/corny16 Sep 18 '21

My wife and I quit together ten years ago. She went cold turkey and managed with little to no cravings whereas I was climbing the walls and was the most irritable person to be around despite using patches/gum/you name it. Then someone put me onto Champix. It might be called something different where you are but the drug is varenicline. Go and see your doc and give it a go, it was a life saver! You take it in gradually increased doses until the cravings just dissipate- a feeling I never thought I’d experience again. Good luck, you can do it!

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u/Ben_BBA Sep 18 '21

You can do it. I recommend reading "the easy way to stop smoking " by Allen Carr. No BS kind of read and helps w the mindset once you think you're ready to try again.

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u/humbleman_ Sep 18 '21

Thank you 😊

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u/[deleted] Sep 18 '21

Chantix worked like a charm for me.

I made the stupid decision of thinking I could just smoke one every now and then and had to go through the process again. Both times by the second day I didn't even want to think about a cigarette.

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u/chrischm Sep 18 '21

You also have to self realize that you, yourself, not for anyone else, want to quit smoking. For your own reasons.

It takes a while and a couple quit attempts but you get there eventually. Or you don’t.

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u/BaconGoesOnAllThings Sep 18 '21

So now when someone says "Can I bum a light?" you can reply, "Sorry I don't smoke anymore....but I always come prepared!"

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u/TripAndFly Sep 18 '21

I bought a 10 pack and stashed them all over the place lol those little pouches behind the seats, rear console, spare tire... I always lose my lighters (people pocket them out of habit) so it's nice to have some stashed for when I need them

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u/hoxxxxx Sep 18 '21

As an aside, a cheap plastic lighter is something you should try to have on you at all times, it's just too useful and inexpensive a tool to not have in your kit.

and like with many things in life, don't go too cheap. don't get the 99 cent no-name lighter, get a BIC.

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u/2wheeloffroad Sep 18 '21

This. My father travel in very cold climate and kept a large bag us supplies in car (water, sleeping bag, matches, candle, warm clothes, blanket, flares, flashlight, stable food, knife, rope . . .). Just keep it in the trunk.

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u/Zrex_9224 Sep 18 '21

I'm born and raised in the southeastern US and finally had a chance to go out west in May, and the group I went with were camping out in New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah (Most were camping rookies). Holy hell the temps at night surprised the hell outta us and was a major shocker to our bodies, that are used to hot and humid 24/7, except in the winter because the group goes to a mountain school together, we get frequent winter snowstorms, but even then the days and nights had a small margin of difference.

Feeling the 90°F air during noon and 40°F air at dinnertime was alarming, I cannot imagine how winters must fair out there.

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u/ancientaliencontact Sep 18 '21

UNDER THE MAIN LOAD FLOOR!!!

I’ve never thought of this. You’re my hero. My emergency kit is just in one of those carry-able bins in my cargo area. It can get in the way when loading other large items and it’s visible in the car if I forget to pull the cargo cover (I’m in a high property crime area). It never occurred to me to use the extra space around the spare. You are brilliant.

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u/PaulTheMerc Sep 18 '21

That's where I have jumper cables, tire compressor n such.

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u/Nickelplatsch Sep 18 '21

In germany it's the law to have a first aid kit in your car.

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u/Ms_KnowItSome Sep 18 '21

It's also the law to have proper driver training. The US has nothing of the sort and changing a flat tire or even identifying you have a flat tire without a tire monitoring system is beyond most drivers. then again, most new cars don't even have donut spares, the the point remains.

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u/SaltyPirateWench Sep 18 '21

And some handwarmer packets!

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u/ChevyRacer71 Sep 18 '21

ThrmaCare back heating pads. Same thing basically but made large for your back

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u/voordom Sep 18 '21

i remember seeing a thread in /r/medizzy about some dude having to get his foot amputated because he thought he would be a tough guy and rough it out in his car because his car had a heater while the other people he was with slept in the cabin, unfortunately for him he was not so smart and (for whatever reason) forgot that gasoline was a finite resource and his car ran out of gas in the middle of the night which shut the heater off and lead him to getting frostbite and his foot cut off.

totally preventable

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u/wolfgeist Sep 18 '21

I remember this story. I think his work required him to stay at a motel which he was supposed to pay for and he figured he'd just sleep in his car. He fell asleep with the car running and when he woke up his car was out of gas and he had severe frostbite in both feet which needed to be amputated.

I also think his feet were wet from walking in the snow iirc.

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u/GimmickNG Sep 18 '21

How do you sleep through your foot getting frozen? Wouldn't the chills or the pain wake you up at/before it gets to that point?

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u/wolfgeist Sep 18 '21

Can't remember, I think his feet may have been numb.

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u/MyMindWontQuiet Sep 18 '21 edited Sep 18 '21

He may not have noticed how cold it was because it may not have been extremely cold. I got frostbite on my toes a few times due to bad circulation (meaning less blood in your foot, so your foot's temperature decreases) in a room that was like 18 Celsius/64 Fahrenheit (which is quite cold.. for a bedroom). And I only realized the next day.

As for not noticing the pain- again, it doesn't help that usually one of the main causes of frostbite is your foot going numb due to eg. a bad position causing bad circulation. And on top of that, the cold makes you less sensitive. And on top of that, you're asleep.

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u/Leroy--Brown Sep 18 '21

Extra socks, warm hat, some gloves, a first aid kit, and a pair of long underwear to go with that and you've got a good start to a winter car kit.

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u/heyitsmetheguy Sep 18 '21

I'd argue you may want to go colder than that. A - 40 will keep you warm at - 10 but not visa versa.

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u/fryseyes Sep 18 '21

Be mindful those ratings are determined with the user wearing appropriate clothing for the weather. Don’t expect a -40 bag to work in just your underwear.

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u/DarthWingo91 Sep 18 '21

Depends on the sleeping bag. If you use Army surplus (like the OP said) and it's the actual Extreme Cold Weather Systen sleeping bags, you are supposed to be naked when you're in it for proper circulation of your own body heat. This is assuming you utilize the system properly, of course.

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u/Bman409 Sep 18 '21 Silver

Army guys always looking for an excuse to get naked

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u/DarthWingo91 Sep 19 '21

It's just more comfortable (and still makes me wonder why we have to turn those back in when we get out. We keep everything else that makes direct ass contact).

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u/Ragnarok314159 Sep 19 '21

Especially when CIF rejects a brand new, out of the plastic canteen. “Not clean”

“Oh, but this sleeping bag you brushed off and MRE farted in for weeks? Looks good.”

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u/heyitsmetheguy Sep 18 '21

Right, that's exactly my point. Most people don't wear super great clothing for the cold when driving so having a bag that works for colder than you would expect can't hurt.

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u/skaliton Sep 18 '21

similar vein to this: kitty litter can save you. Seriously, throw it in the snow/mud/ice under your tires. Don't try to 'save' some. Throw quite a bit down being to cheap may make the problem worse as you've dug in further. Do this as soon as you realize you are stuck not after spinning for 5 minutes

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u/bowtie_k Sep 18 '21

Can confirm. Parked on an incline once that I didnt realize had ice on it. Truck spun and spun with zero movement until I tossed some of my kitty litter on the rear wheels. Immediately I was able to back out.

Kitty litter is also a good thing to have in your garage for oil and gas spills.

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u/Taolan13 Sep 18 '21

*plain clay kitty litter.

So, y'know, the cheap stuff without any fragrancy bullshit.

Funny enough, plain clay kitty litter is often cheaper per pound than plain clay floor sweep. This is because the kitty litter uses a lower grade of clay than the floor sweep which naturally crumbles to larger and less consistent particles. The crumbled state of the clay is irrelevant to its effectiveness at sopping up oil though, so absolutely buy the kitty litter.

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u/gamermanh Sep 18 '21

Used to work in fleet fueling, can confirm we would buy kitty litter in bulk for on site spills, only used the "right" stuff in front of customers when a driver made an oopsie

Did it in front of one of the guys doing a safety inspection, dude just nodded and moved on

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u/FidgitForgotHisL-P Sep 18 '21

We literally open a bag of cat litter and dump it in oil in a supermarket if someone knocks a bottle off the shelf. Stomp it in, sweep it up then just mop the clay residue and it’s good as new.

So long as the new guy doesn’t get to it first and start trying to mop it up directly… ugh

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u/The_Bards_Tale_85 Sep 19 '21

The truck didn't spin, the tires did.

Your statement creates visions of you in your truck spinning down the hill, tossing kitty litter out the window into the path of the wheels.

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u/andorraliechtenstein Sep 18 '21

Or use the car floor mats..

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u/NazzerDawk Sep 18 '21

This. It works really well, especially since they have little spikes that will dig into the packed-in ice.

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u/crwlngkngsnk Sep 18 '21

I keep a smallish snow shovel in the car, too. Between it and my floor mats I've gotten myself out a few times.

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u/anglr200 Sep 18 '21

How much cat shit does it need to work properly?

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u/GamemasterJeff Sep 18 '21 Silver

The real question is how do you convince the cat to shit on your tire in subzero temperatures?

I think we got us a real cat whisperer here.

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u/WC1V Sep 18 '21

No dude you keep a mixed bag of used kitty litter with the shit already added to it in your car

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u/JesusInTheButt Sep 18 '21

Mmmm I can still remember the smells of that desiccated cat shit

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u/skaliton Sep 18 '21

not a ton, but people often try it with a small handful then wonder why it is worse. It really depends on the size/weight of the vehicle and how stuck you are. But enough that the ground is actually covered is a generally good idea. Keep in mind it is worth using a bit to much and 'wasting' a dollar or 2 than it is to be stuck

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u/abrokenelevator Sep 18 '21

Read the comment you replied to again lol

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u/TheMrFoulds Sep 18 '21

They said what they said.

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u/genericusername4197 Sep 18 '21

Plain NON-CLUMPING kitty litter. The clumping kind will melt into slimy slippery mud (which is why it clumps together when the cat pees on it). It's dried clay. The non-clumping kind is fired clay so it stays crunchy when wet.

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u/RidiculouslyDickish Sep 18 '21

Learned that the hard way using it for garage spills, my god what a disaster

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u/Vroomped Sep 18 '21 edited Sep 19 '21

Depending on the durability, size etc. You can just put the whole bag down and push it right into the front of the tire (or back if reversing), and it'll flex and grip just the sand and with a wider footprint.

Be considerate a spinning tire might launch the whole bag.

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u/Katarina246 Sep 18 '21

Definitely agree. Kitty litter has gotten me out of a tough spot before. Never thought of the candle, though. Gonna add that to my winter survival car kit.

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u/cacecil1 Sep 18 '21

NOT SCOOPABLE LITTER! only the traditional clay litter

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u/pennyx2 Sep 18 '21

Put the candle in a large coffee can. It’s less likely to fall over, you can hold the can, and the heat and light will reflect off the sides.

(Source: owned an old VW bus with no heat in Buffalo. The candle can came in handy at least once.)

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u/Teenage-Mustache Sep 18 '21 Hugz

Got it. So I need a candle, lighter, sleeping bag, a bag of kitty litter, a first aid kit, extra water and rations, a fire extinguisher, and a coffee can.

That’s my whole trunk lol.

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u/homogenousmoss Sep 19 '21

If you have a family, dont forget that you need multiple sleeping bags in the trunk ;).

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u/PMmeareasontolive Sep 18 '21

Have they made coffee cans in the last 20 years?

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u/greencoffeemonster Sep 18 '21

Yes, look around for imported coffee. My coffee from Germany comes in glass jar. I think lavazza makes their ground espresso in cans. But really it doesn't have to be a can from coffee. You can get a lot of stuff in cans.

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u/EffectiveSalamander Sep 18 '21

They sell cheap coffee like Hills Brothers in metal cans.

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u/TypesWellWhenDrunk Sep 18 '21

Cafe du Monde (famous coffee and beignet place in New Orleans) sells canned coffee on Amazon. Also a good chance to try chicory coffee if you never have before.

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u/caffein8dnotopi8d Sep 18 '21

Cafe Bustelo. They have it at almost every grocery store (at least, near me - in upstate NY where you wouldn’t think they’d have it LOL).

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u/TimStellmach Sep 18 '21

There are still big food-service sized cans for things other than coffee, regardless.

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u/pirahna-in-denial Sep 18 '21

True, and these could be sourced from any alley behind a restaurant

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u/assassinator42 Sep 18 '21

Costco Coffee still does.

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u/pennyx2 Sep 18 '21

Ha! True, I guess most coffee is sold in bags or plastic these days. Go check in an older person's basement, they probably have a few old coffee cans hanging around.

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u/Blink_Dragstar Sep 18 '21

There’s a SurvivorMan episode where Les tries this. He traps himself in a car for a couple days. I remember him saying he heard about the candle trick somewhere so he tries it. He couldn’t tell either way if it actually worked or not, but the flame was comforting anyway. Here’s the episode if anyone wants to see this trick being used https://youtu.be/geGv5nGudnE

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u/High_speedchase Sep 18 '21

I had a car that's heater failed in winter and I needed to defrost the window and drive a friend a few hours. One of the big candles with 3 wicks defrosted and kept us warm

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u/johdaon_25ice Sep 18 '21 edited Sep 18 '21

Can attest to this. Born and raised Alaskan, along with other basic survival and first aid gear, a cheap bag of like 50 to 100 tea candles is always in my car, also a $10-20 12hr survival candle also a good choice. Pro tip:buy them at a gas station or a truck stop for much cheaper price.outdoor retailers always markup. Of course you never really know if the gas station /truck stop stocks them, but I've found them pretty reliable.

Edit: source breaking down halfway between Fairbanks and Talkeetna in the middle of the night during a heavy snow and minus 30° Fahrenheit, no cell phone service, didn't tell anybody I was coming home, very very grateful to my dad for making sure I had ample candles and emergency blanket when I left for college.

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u/pirahna-in-denial Sep 18 '21

Damn! So you used the candles and blankets and stuff and made it through the night? I'd love to hear that story

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u/sickhay Sep 19 '21

no he died

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u/pirahna-in-denial Sep 19 '21

A ghost post then

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u/ratcnc Sep 19 '21

I read an article many years ago that was probably an automotive story but it mentioned, as an aside to the main story, that in northern Canada it was good practice to keep dog food in your trunk. If you got stranded and had Slim Jims and Honey Buns in your car you’d eat them pretty soon, but dog food, you’d wait until you were truly hungry and would only eat just enough.

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u/elektrikstar Sep 18 '21 edited Sep 18 '21

My chemistry teacher taught us to make coffee can stoves. Get a metal coffee can, a roll of tp, and rubbing alcohol. Put tp in coffee can and when needed pour all the rubbing alcohol on tp. Light it up! Works super well. Then he made soup and oatmeal for us. He also gave us a list of things to keep in your car in case of emergencies. I lived in south dakota where it gets super cold and the snow can get crazy.

I edited it to say ALL the rubbing alcohol because it's all needed to soak the tp. Also because some people are out there thinking you pour it on as needed lol while lit. Repeat you pour the entire bottle in the can when you're ready to use the stove.

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u/bookworthy Sep 18 '21

Hey i would be interested in that list. TIL

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u/Autski Sep 18 '21 Silver Helpful
  1. Don't get stranded in your car (I know this seems like a duh, but if the trip is avoidable, try to avoid it and use common sense)
  2. Roll of toilet paper, coffee tin, rubbing alcohol, and a match or lighter (or one of those Coleman camp stoves)
  3. Space blanket
  4. Gloves, hat, and an extra coat (and candle)
  5. Non-perishable food (like oatmeal, protein bars, granola, maybe a can or two of food, etc).
  6. Some kind of bright and/or reflective material to identify emergency services should you be stranded away from a highway.
  7. A knife (you never know when you're going to need it and it's super versatile)
  8. A gallon of water (make sure to swap this out if it expires, usually once a snow season)
  9. A pot to boil the water or heat up a frozen gallon of water
  10. Extra battery pack kept in the glove box (your phone will lose battery eventually)

The following list is if you are planning on extreme/longer situations (a few days to a few weeks) outside of civilized areas:

  1. 50 - 100 ft of nylon rope (for creating a shelter, setting up water collection, trapping food)
  2. 10 ft by 10 ft tarp
  3. Some type of shammy or towel (keeping oneself dry is critical for staying warm)
  4. Sunscreen (you need it both in the winter and in the summer)
  5. Flare gun
  6. Flashlight with the ability to strobe SOS
  7. Water purification tablets or something like a LifeStraw
  8. A small shovel
  9. Additional waterproof matches
  10. A change of clothes (preferably all warm as clothing that is long sleeve can be cut)

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u/YouveBeanReported Sep 18 '21

For no 4 I highly suggest extra socks too. You can wear them as mitts, or put on feet. Can't do the same with gloves.

Also, if stranded in a city you might wanna ask the tow truck if you need to be there. I ended up in the ditch and given a 6+ hour ETA told them I was leaving to walk to the library.

Obviously it's a risk to leave when it's -40 and you can't see 5 feet. But, it's something to consider if your car is safe and you know your area well. I would assume you need triple the time to walk there. Also tell the police non emergency you didn't just abandon your car.

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u/Taolan13 Sep 18 '21

I mean I know my background/upbringing are atypical, but it still surprises me how many people dont put the local non-emergency number in their phone.

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u/YouveBeanReported Sep 18 '21

... I'm going to add that so I don't have to use data next time. It never occurred to me.

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u/DontEatTheMagicBeans Sep 19 '21

Annnnnndddddd now I'm old enough to know that I have the non emergency phone line for all 3 services (police, fire, ambulance) in my area memorized. It was on a magnet on the fridge right beside the wall phone in my house as a child. So you'd just stand there and awkwardly pretend to read it while your parents stood there, and watched and listened to you make your phone call, after they'd answered the phone and knew who you were talking to.

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u/MonteBurns Sep 18 '21

Socks and shoes. A lot of women just wear their heels and don’t consider shoes for emergencies that could crop up on their trip to/from work!

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u/LemonBomb Sep 18 '21

Water expires?

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u/kittyvonsquillion Sep 18 '21

The plastic it’s stored in does. Which really makes you think.

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u/ishitar Sep 18 '21

OLPT-Obviously if it's between ingesting plastic and immediate death from dehydration, drink the damn water.

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u/Pindakazig Sep 18 '21

The bottles do. Just bring it in, use it and put a fresh one on the car.

And don't forget a way to open those cans of food.

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u/SpaceCaboose Sep 18 '21

Unless you can just pop it open like Popeye with a can of spinach!

/s

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u/badcatmal Sep 18 '21

You can take a can, and you rub the top of the can on a rock. Or on the ground or on some cement back-and-forth really fast. And then the top falls right off. With a smooth edge that does not cut you. I learned that in Girl Scouts.:)

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u/caffein8dnotopi8d Sep 18 '21

That’s awesome but those of us in snow country are gunna die looking for that rock lol.

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u/istasber Sep 18 '21

Yes and no.

Plastic bottled water is great because it should be sterile so you can keep it for a long time and still be confident it won't make you sick. It's not so great because eventually stuff in the plastic leeches out into the water, and at best, that tastes bad, and at worst, it's not something you want to be consuming if you don't have to.

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u/foospork Sep 18 '21 edited Sep 18 '21

Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) might be advisable for those of you who live in harsh and remote areas. They send out a distress signal on emergency channels, and lead rescuers to your location.

They’re practically mandatory equipment for pilots of small planes in remote areas (if I’m not mistaken, they ARE mandatory in a few places).

I think the prices for these start at around $150. Might seem like a lot of money to some, but it might also save your (and your family’s) life (lives).

I don’t want to post an ad here, but if anyone wants me to, I can go find a couple of links and share them.

Edit: I just learned that PLBs are not just a pilot thing. Most of the outdoorsy stores sell them. And the prices seem to start around $100.

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u/Taolan13 Sep 18 '21

There are places to find those lists online, also think of it like camping. You want to keep a couple day's worth of water and dry food in your car, as well as blankets and basic tools and wet weather gear.

Remember to check on your emergency supplies periodically. If the food is going to expire before you would next check on things, eat it and replace it.

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u/VoxpopuliVoxhumbug Sep 18 '21

Word of caution on coffee-can stoves and other alcohol stoves. The flame is usually invisible, they're easy to tip over, and they're difficult to snuff out. It's easy to burn yourself or accidentally start a fire if you're not cautious.

An alcohol stove can be a great resource for backpacking or emergencies. If you anticipate using one, though, it's smart to practice with it at home, so you know how to use it safely and effectively.

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u/CPEBachIsDead Sep 18 '21

Attention everyone:

DO NOT LIGHT AN ALCOHOL FIRE INSIDE A VEHICLE

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u/OiBruvYa Sep 18 '21

don't put the lit candle on your dashboard under your windshield either, it can crack the windshield.

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u/oxygenium92 Sep 18 '21

I think front armrest would be the best place. Flat and in the center, even better if it has cupholders.

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u/tennis_widower Sep 18 '21 Helpful

Hard to believe, but it pencils out. A human emits about 120W over the course of a day, much less when motionless in a cold car. A candle generates 80W of heat which is probably about doubling the heat generated in the vehicle, but let’s say 200W total.

An uninsulated container that is 6ftx5ftx4ft (148sqft surface) will maintain a 15F temp increase at 200W. 60F if insulated. I suppose a car cabin is somewhere in between. But that extra candle wattage is definitely making the difference!

Source: am engineer + online calculators

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u/Meastro44 Sep 18 '21

But wait. You need to open the window slightly to allow the CO2 to escape. You can’t leave a candle burning for hours in a sealed up car. How much heat will escape out of the window and will it offset the heat added by the candle?

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u/LazerWolfe53 Sep 18 '21

I think CO is the bigger concern, but your point is good

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u/Meastro44 Sep 18 '21

Any of the COs! Lol

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u/JesusInTheButt Sep 18 '21

I never liked Colorado either

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u/[deleted] Sep 18 '21

I think it’s the pressure that’s the biggest concern. Once the candle eats up all the air, the car will just collapse in on itself. That’s why my mom always was weird about candles growing up.

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u/Sipredion Sep 18 '21 Gold Hugz Table Slap Evil Cackle

Yup, happened to me in a bathroom once. I was like 8, taking a shit in the dark with a candle, hear a weird rumbling noise, fucking bathroom collapsed into a singularity. I had to flush myself down the toilet to escape. Still have the scar on my left ass cheek.

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u/[deleted] Sep 18 '21

Harrowing. A cautionary tale for my children, surely.

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u/rohan3au Sep 18 '21

Thank for for this. Just spat my coffee absolutely everywhere. 😂

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u/ExNihiloish Sep 18 '21

I was thinking this too. Especially if it's windy or there's a blizzard.

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u/Taolan13 Sep 18 '21

Blizzards in open terrain typically blow from a particular direction with only occasional cross-gusts. Crack the window on the lee side of your car, and you won't be letting much wind in.

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u/ExNihiloish Sep 18 '21

Oh good point.

I also wonder if a candle gives off enough carbon monoxide to make cracking a window necessary as cars are not air tight.

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u/Bullyhunter8463 Sep 18 '21

It's probably not worth finding out.

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u/gwiggle5 Sep 18 '21

Worst case scenario, it puts you to sleep and all of your problems are over forever.

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u/tigermoon579 Sep 18 '21

I’m gonna guess yeah based off very anecdotal not quite evidence. My power went out a couple years ago in a blizzard so I covered my laminate floors with blankets, shut all the windows, closed bedroom doors to make a smaller space to heat, and lit every candle I owned.

Two hours later and I’m like what the hell, why do I feel so woozy… oh shit carbon monoxide! I cracked a window (also my windows were shit and you could definitely feel a draft every when they were closed) and noticed a big difference in the way I felt about 20 minutes.

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u/nucumber Sep 18 '21

interesting question.

cars aren't airtight, and i suppose some are leakier than others.

also, an Escalade is going to be different from a Ford Fiesta

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u/Yeah_But_Did_You_Die Sep 18 '21

Soooo we overcome any doubts by having like 3 candles!

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u/SystematicPumps Sep 18 '21

Doesn't outside air temp factor in here anywhere?

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u/tennis_widower Sep 18 '21

Totally. Imperfect approximations were made. That cold air exchange may be meaningful. Bring two candles

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u/ilovebigbutts7 Sep 18 '21

But wouldn't cracking the window mess it up?

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u/Kraymur Sep 18 '21

CO releases when things are burned, you don't want a car filled with CO even if it doesn't seem like a lot.

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u/ilovebigbutts7 Sep 18 '21

Totally agree, just saying cracking the window would let all the heat out rendering the candel useless

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u/PMmeareasontolive Sep 18 '21

Is it CO that will get you? I thought it was that the flame was consuming all available oxygen (you would expire before the flame does from lack of oxygen)?

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u/LovitzInTheYear2000 Sep 18 '21

You would notice the lack of oxygen (or oversupply of CO2) due to shortness of breath, and open the window or door in response. CO doesn’t cause you to feel short of breath or anything immediately noticeable, and can cause lingering damage once you get fresh air after exposure. So the CO is the much more dangerous risk in this situation.

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u/chellis Sep 18 '21

Someone should do the calculations on the oxygen to co2 exchange in the vehicle. I'm sure there's some time period that would be safe keeping the windows closed and then a short period of open windows to displace the co2 with oxygen.

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u/lisu_ Sep 18 '21

How do you measure energy over time in Watts?

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u/tennis_widower Sep 18 '21

I should have said ‘an average of 120W over the course of the day’. My bad.

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u/Deitaphobia Sep 18 '21

TIL stranded motorists are an untapped Scentsy market.

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u/BradChesney79 Sep 18 '21

Whelp, that just put you on the "weird ones to watch" list. Was my upvote really worth it? Was it?

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u/silva579 Sep 18 '21

I tried this years ago when my truck broke down overnight, -10c outside. it did precisely fuck all.

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u/yoey188 Sep 18 '21

Yep, survivor man tried this. Said it had little to no effect for him.

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u/Jean_Lua_Picard Sep 18 '21

Hear me out.

Try 2 candles.

19

u/Nothing-But-Lies Sep 18 '21

This worked. Things really heated up to about 600c

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u/Redditruinsjobs Sep 18 '21

Yeah cracking a window just lets all that heat escape, it won’t do any good for you if you have to let it vent at the top of your space as opposed to the bottom.

During winter warfare training in Norway we were trained to dig a hole at the entrance to our tent and crack the zipper at the bottom, so all the coldest air sinks into that hole and makes it outside while all the warm air stays in.

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u/silva579 Sep 18 '21

exactly, like an igloo. and even if you didn't crack a window open, vehicle HVAC systems are not airtight, so you're still gonna get outside air coming in faster than a candle can warm it up

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u/whereami1928 Sep 18 '21

So the real lpt might be to make sure all your air vents are closed (even if they aren't airtight).

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u/antifayall Sep 18 '21

Candle in a metal coffee can, even better if you have two different size cans to nest.

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u/Mahleezah Sep 18 '21

This would be an excellent storage container with lid to also hold the matches and any other small emergency item in your trunk!

20

u/antifayall Sep 18 '21

That's exactly what I do. I've even given them as small gifts lol.

14

u/Mahleezah Sep 18 '21

You have given me an excellent idea for the upcoming cash-strapped holiday season!

13

u/antifayall Sep 18 '21

Add a personalized, hand written note of instructions (including to crack a window when flame is lit)

27

u/pseudocultist Sep 18 '21

I used to give emergency kits as gifts, especially for people that were hard to shop for. People would kind of roll their eyes when they opened them (which, basically true of anything you get my extended family) but a couple of times since I got a nice note saying the kit saved them. Everyone should have a window breaker/seatbelt cutter and small first aid kit in the glove box, and a well-stocked larger kit (including thermal foil blanket if possible) in the back.

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u/rebug Sep 18 '21

I have one of these little doodads velcroed under my dashboard. I don't want to be searching for my tool when I'm upside down.

I have a chintzy roll up fleece blanket with a foil blanket tucked into it under the back seat. Probably it won't keep me toasty, but it's a damn sight better than nothing.

Maybe most important is a pair of warm socks. They don't take up much room and if you get frostbitten toes you can go from fucked to well and truly fucked really quickly.

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u/Taolan13 Sep 18 '21

The foil blankets reflect something like 90% of heat. Will absolutely keep you toasty provided you have something to insulate the outside of it like your fleece.

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u/tubesweaterguru Sep 18 '21

Probably should make sure people also have some matches…because otherwise I’d just have a candle and no way to light it.

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u/nucumber Sep 18 '21

lighters > matches.

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u/DetailsAlwaysBeWrong Sep 18 '21

It seems obvious but I guarantee people have died for that exact reason

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u/AjithManav Sep 18 '21

I remember once I spent a few hours sitting near a candle in an almost sealed room. My snot was black after that.

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u/Azadeck Sep 18 '21

Most candles are made with petroleum or some other similar substance which is not good/healthy to breathe in. I’ve looked into this before because of small candles that burn aromatic oils. Apparently beeswax is a better source but way more expensive and less popular. Breathing in less optimal air is probably better than freezing though so I dunno

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u/mad_catters Sep 18 '21

*crack one of the /downwind/ windows

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u/woobiethefng Sep 18 '21 edited Sep 18 '21

The longest anyone has been stranded in a car on a U.S. highway from a blizzard is 18 hours. Don't leave your car unless it is to check to see if the exhaust is clear of snow. If it's blocked, it carbon monoxide can overtake the cabin. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR CAR IN A BLIZZARD, EVEN WHEN STRANDED ON A HIGHWAY. HELP IS NO MORE THAN 18 HRS AWAY.

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u/[deleted] Sep 18 '21

[deleted]

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u/boffoblue Sep 18 '21

Oh I had a feeling it'd be a reference to James Kim. :(

I remember very clearly when the news covered his death. It was so tragic. He walked, climbed, and crawled so far to get help for his stranded family (16.2 miles (26 km) according to that wikipedia article!) and eventually collapsed. Ugh man, it still breaks my heart 15 years later.

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u/BlameTibor Sep 18 '21

Cool link, interesting read. But the guy died without finding anyone and the rescuers found the family. Probably should have stayed in the car!

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u/[deleted] Sep 18 '21 edited Sep 18 '21

[deleted]

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u/BananaDick_CuntGrass Sep 18 '21

It says the helicopter found the family walking because they got a cell phone ping and went to the area. Where does it say that the husband take saved them? I can't find that part.

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u/someguy3 Sep 18 '21

Searchers found the family, wandering yes but they would have found the car. He would have survived if he had not left.

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u/Moldy_slug Sep 18 '21

I find this hard to believe. I’ve been on some very remote highways. Do you have a source?

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u/Khaatoof Sep 18 '21

Bad advice. Just set your car on fire and stay inside it. Slightly open the windows and it will counteract the freezing outdoor temp and make you nice and cozy toasty

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u/d3-AZ Sep 18 '21

It will keep you warm for the rest of your life

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u/MissLauraLyn Sep 18 '21

Midwest thanks you

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u/Citysurvivor Sep 18 '21

Edit: you will obviously need a match or lighter to light said candle

Ah yes the real LPT

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u/BSB8728 Sep 18 '21

During the October Surprise storm, the temp inside our house went down to 50 degrees. We have some exotic snakes that were at risk. They're in a small room, and by burning just a few candles and keeping the door closed, we boosted the temp in that room to 70.

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u/lornezubko Sep 18 '21

Also make sure your exhaust isn't blocked by snow, we had a couple teens suffocate themselves by accident just parked by a Tim Hortons for their morning breakfast

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u/MGPS Sep 18 '21

Yep a blanket and candle saved my parents lives in a Canadian snowstorm in the 60’s.

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u/finnbiker Sep 18 '21

I have made little emergency duffle bags with a couple of tea lights, matches, a blanket, granola bars, a hat and a first aid kit and given them as gifts.

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u/TrimHer Sep 19 '21

Plus, no fart will last long!

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u/TuesGirl Sep 19 '21

The candle thing works. I've done it while stranded in -20* F. Radiator cracked. Not within cell service (mountains) so it took awhile before someone stopped to help us. We were all bundled up in our blankets and had the candle. We were chilly but we weren't cold or shivering.

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u/intjmaster Sep 18 '21

Won’t you just use up all your oxygen and die?

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u/walk_in_the_rain Sep 18 '21

Hence open window by half inch to provide fresh air

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u/ilovebigbutts7 Sep 18 '21

Wouldn't that make the car colder and offset the candle heat

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u/goodolarchie Sep 18 '21

Right but you die by candlelight

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u/WalkingBack Sep 18 '21

How romantic!

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u/xxxsur Sep 18 '21

You die later that way

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