Nothing is one of the most important things to do if your vehicle gets stuck in snow.

A man and a woman caught in snow overnight 70 miles west of Casper earlier this week did the right thing by staying put, said Lt. Stewart Anderson, Natrona County emergency management coordinator.

"He was fine, he was in his vehicle, which is very important," Anderson said Friday. "If you do become stuck in your vehicle, stay there. It's much easier to find that vehicle and you have shelter from the elements."

The man and woman had a couple other things going for them including letting someone know where they would be, which was near the Raderville Oil Fields, he said.

But staying put was most important, Anderson said. "He didn't try to, 'well, I'm only so many miles from help,' and try to walk there. Because 'so many miles from help'; unfortunately we've found people deceased."

Sadly, first responders sometimes have found a vehicle, determined it was in good running condition, it had plenty of gas and the heater worked, Anderson said. "They (the missing persons) would have been found hours earlier instead of either being injured, or hypothermic, or even worse."

Anderson had other recommendations for winter travel:

  • Make sure your vehicle is in good working order.
  • Try to have at least a half-tank of gas all the time. If you do get stuck, run your engine for 10 minutes every hour, but make sure a window is partially open and the exhaust pipe is not blocked.
  • Take personal supplies including extra dry clothing, blankets, food and water.
  • For the vehicle, have a shovel, a bag of sand or generic cat litter for traction.
  • Tell someone where you're going.
  • Take a cell phone.

Regarding cell phones, Anderson said the technology has come a long way in recent years compared to when the closest a person could be found was by the tower from where a signal was transmitted.

But remember, this is Wyoming and the tower on the southern side of Casper Mountain may be in the southern part of the state, he said.

"Definitely take a cell phone, but don't rely completely and make this, 'this is going to save my life,' type of thing," Anderson said. "You've got to take these other steps in order to keep yourself safe, too."