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Discussion Starter #1
You guys are great at thinking about physics and mechanics and common sense when analyzing every day problems on this board, and last night I got to think about something... Often you hear about people being stranded on the highway in a snow storm and they have to conserve their gas so they cycle the car on and off through the night to keep them warm...

Now, my question to all of you is, would it actually use less gas to keep your car idling through a snow storm and keep the interior at a constant temperature OR to do as most people do and continually start and stop the car... My thoughts are that when people do the latter, they are wasting more gas as they are constantly starting the car and they probably have to heat the engine back up and run the blower on max just to get the temperature in the car back up to a comfortable level...

The reason I'm asking this is because I said to myself: "if I were ever trapped in my car in a blizzard, what would be the best thing to do???" So please, have at it!
 

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i would think that keeping the engine idling would use more gas over the night but not much more than cycling all night.

but this is why i keep blankets clothes a lighter and water in my car.

...just in case.
 

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I would imagine that you would waste more gas when turning the car off and on, which is why I usually let it idle (especially if I'm going in and out real quick).

Also, when the winter season hits, my trunk is always full of at least 3 wool blankets, one heating pad that plugs into the cig. lighter, flashlights, one extra coat/gloves/hat/scarf/boots and flares and a shovel.

I always carry tow straps and jumper cables with me.

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At idle, the engine puts out a fairly constant amount of heat, it doesn't make more to heat itself up, except for auto-raising its own idle speed. With that said, if they have a good battery, starting and stopping would probably be the best option, especially if they have less than 1/2 a tank. Full tank would probably be good for over a full day at a continuous idle. Running the car for 6 hours every 24 hours(15 minutes every hour) you could probably stretch it out for 4+ days, again assuming you have a good alternator/battery capable of all the restarts.

Edit: Thowing this in, to extend runtime, you would have to blip the gas to knock the idle speed down for the start and stop method.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Wow, sounds like you guys are really prepared... All I keep in my trunk for that purpose is an old pink blanket! lolz
 

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I have a heavy sleeping bag and a camping pillow in a big duffel bag in the trunk, along with a change of clothes.

There's also a snow shovel, ice scraper/brush (obviously), and ice melter/traction stuff.

I also have tools, jumper cables, plus oil, p/s and transsmission fluid, coolant, and washer fluid. If I'm on a longer trip I might have a full-size spare on a matching wheel.

And of course the AAA card :lol2:
 

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Everyone on up's right. Always have a blanket, warm weather gear, and a working cell for serious weather conditions.

A full tank is a great thing, too.
 

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You may want to factor in the possibility of poisoning from the fumes your car is putting out. There have been plenty of cases of people dieing like that.
 

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Most of you guys seem to be much better prepared than me. All I have in my trunk is a spare. :x:

This kinda reminds me of a sad story in southern Oregon in November 2006 where a family of four vacationing out of San Francisco (The guy worked for cnet) got stranded down an old logging road in their Saab wagon. They were trying to reach their hotel with poor directions. They were there for days, burned all 4 tires off the car in hopes to be spotted, no luck. The authorities or search and rescue never found them. After so many days of being cold with no food, hope for them was getting dim. The husband decided to go on a trek on foot to look for help, while the wife and two young girls stayed in the car. Unfortunately, the guy did not make it, he was later found dead.

What saved the rest of them was a guy that owned several Burger Kings in the area, and he owned his own helicopter painted black with flames as advertisement for his restaraunts.

While he was driving in his car listening to the radio, he heard the names of one of the young girls stranded which was the same name as someone in his own family. That inspired him to go searching out there in his chopper on a hunch. He did just that with no luck at first and his chopper was low on fuel. He went back and got fuel and continued to search and he found the wife and two daughters next to the car, alive and well. The owner of a Burger King was the one that found them.

This was a wealthy family that got lost, and family members back home hired their own private helicopters to find them but they did'nt.

The big lesson from all this is to stay in the car.
 

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I usually keep a flashlight and a comforter in my car, but then again, I am a teenager and all my family lives right here close-by, so if I ever got stranded they would come and get me probably.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I have a heavy sleeping bag and a camping pillow in a big duffel bag in the trunk, along with a change of clothes.

There's also a snow shovel, ice scraper/brush (obviously), and ice melter/traction stuff.

I also have tools, jumper cables, plus oil, p/s and transsmission fluid, coolant, and washer fluid. If I'm on a longer trip I might have a full-size spare on a matching wheel.

And of course the AAA card :lol2:
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Sounds like your trunk is completely stuffed... Jumper cables are probably a good thing to have...
 

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My trunk is about like Jim's trunk.

The roads I have to drive on in the winter, one would be kinda foolish to drive around with nothing but 1/4 tank of gas. Some of the roads where I live still "blow shut".
 

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You may want to factor in the possibility of poisoning from the fumes your car is putting out. There have been plenty of cases of people dieing like that.
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Exactly what I was thinking. If the snows that bad, chances are your exhaust pipe will be covered fairly fast. Some kid died here not too long ago from falling asleep in his car while it was running for ~2 hours with all the windows up.

Thats a big reason why I think most people turn it on, heat up, and turn off. The longer you keep it on, the longer you risk poisoning yourself.
 

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I was always under the impression that you couldn't kill yourself with one of the modern emissions controlled cars.

Plus think about it ... you're outside and there's probably going to be wind blowing.
 

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I was always under the impression that you couldn't kill yourself with one of the modern emissions controlled cars.

Plus think about it ... you're outside and there's probably going to be wind blowing.
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Sit in a garage closed with the car on for 20-30 min, and if your still alive, come tell me and ill believe you.

Yeah, but if its a snow storm, your exhaust will most likely be blocked off causing it to find ways to go the only direction it can - up into the car or through holes in the firewall or heat from it being pushed back to the engine bay, it will find its way in if your car is that buried by snow.

and if its not, that bad, id be driving wherever i was going still.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
<div class='quotemain'>
I was always under the impression that you couldn't kill yourself with one of the modern emissions controlled cars.

Plus think about it ... you're outside and there's probably going to be wind blowing.
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Sit in a garage closed with the car on for 20-30 min, and if your still alive, come tell me and ill believe you.

Yeah, but if its a snow storm, your exhaust will most likely be blocked off causing it to find ways to go the only direction it can - up into the car or through holes in the firewall or heat from it being pushed back to the engine bay, it will find its way in if your car is that buried by snow.

and if its not, that bad, id be driving wherever i was going still.
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Well if it comes down to freezing to death or being monoxided, I'd pick being monoxided... Exhaust is very hot too so idling your car would probably help melt the snow quick enough...

And I dont get what you mean by "i'd be driving whereever I was going still"... This thread isn't about driving in bad weather... It's about getting stranded... Lot's of times people are stranded because things get so gridlocked on a highway that everything stops and they just get stuck there... Happened a few weeks ago in Nova Scotia...
 

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<div class='quotemain'>
<div class='quotemain'>
I was always under the impression that you couldn't kill yourself with one of the modern emissions controlled cars.

Plus think about it ... you're outside and there's probably going to be wind blowing.
[/b]
Sit in a garage closed with the car on for 20-30 min, and if your still alive, come tell me and ill believe you.

Yeah, but if its a snow storm, your exhaust will most likely be blocked off causing it to find ways to go the only direction it can - up into the car or through holes in the firewall or heat from it being pushed back to the engine bay, it will find its way in if your car is that buried by snow.

and if its not, that bad, id be driving wherever i was going still.
[/b][/quote]

Well if it comes down to freezing to death or being monoxided, I'd pick being monoxided... Exhaust is very hot too so idling your car would probably help melt the snow quick enough...

And I dont get what you mean by "i'd be driving whereever I was going still"... This thread isn't about driving in bad weather... It's about getting stranded... Lot's of times people are stranded because things get so gridlocked on a highway that everything stops and they just get stuck there... Happened a few weeks ago in Nova Scotia...
[/b][/quote]

Yes, but this wouldnt happen unless the weather was so bad that everyone would have to stop. I don't see how a entire road or highway of people would be gridlocked in nice weather.
 
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