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In an winter survival situation, the best chance for survival comes from preparation. Once you are stranded in an automobile in winter it is often too late to take most of the steps it would take to insure your survival.

If you find yourself stranded in the winter the first rule is treat your car as a lifeboat. If you prepare your car for the possibility of possible stranding you will always be able to have an edge on survival.

First to prepare yourself and your car you need to make sure you have the tools you need to aide in your survival. Your car should have a cell phone and a GPS system if possible. These two items have changed the way we communicate and make it possible to stay in contact with friends, family, and authorities. Lacking these devices you should have some practical items. A list of these would include:
A portable booster or battery
A set of jumper cables
Non-soap steel wool
2 large blankets (each big enough to cover passagers in the front and back seats)
A syphon or rubber tubing/hose to be used as such

During the winter it is important to try to keep your gas tank at least half full at all times (this is to minimize the chance of gasline freezing and assure adequate fuel for warmth and possible fire ignition for signaling and cooking.

The idea is to act as if your car is a lifeboat. The first rule is to stay with the car! The items listed are used to provide warmth, and allow you to start fires for heat or signaling.

The car's engine and heater should be used sparingly until some idea can be gained about the possibility of rescue or assistance. If there is a likelihood of a long-term stranding, then the syphon should be used to extract gasoline to be used to ignite a fire. During the day in an extended stranding the gasoline could be used to ignite a fire with tires to make a smokey signal that can be seen for miles. Another ignition source would be the battery or booster attached to the steel wool.

The importance of being able to start a fire is that it allows you to signal, it provides heat and light, and provides a way to prepare food and make water (from melting snow).

The main thing is to stay with your vehicle; it is your lifeboat.