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Holding Icon How to Attract Attention and Raise the Alarm

How to Attract Attention and Raise the Alarm

SAS survival expert, John 'Lofty' Wiseman

If you are unfortunate enough to find yourself stranded due to deep snow or a breakdown your chances of being recovered quickly in busy locations are very good. However, if you happen to be in a remote area there are several things you can do to increase the likelihood you will be found.

  • Charge Your Mobile Phone
    Your mobile can be a life saver, enabling you to call for assistance and receive updates from recovery/emergency services that may be looking for you.
  • Emergency Power
    If you have no power or charger try unlocking its reserve power by pressing keys *3370# which will restart the device showing a 50% increase in battery. (Note: This isn't a feature on all models of mobile phone).
  • Emergency Signal
    If you find yourself outside your service provider's coverage area and there is an emergency, dial 112 and the mobile will search for any existing network to try and establish a connection for you.
  • Stay With Your Vehicle
    Assuming it's safe to do so, always stay with your vehicle. If you've let people know where you were going and your intended route, emergency recovery services will know where to search. It's much easier to find a vehicle but that won't help if you've wandered off.
  • Make Yourself Bigger
    Set up a perimeter of distress signs around your vehicle to mark a larger area that rescuers can see more easily and use anything that reflects for even greater visibility. Remember bright, reflective clothing also gives you a better chance of being seen.
  • Be Seen & Heard
    Use your headlights and horn to signal you are in distress. Six blasts on the horn, wait five seconds and repeat and six spaced flashes are the universal signals to use. If possible, position the car so that the headlights are pointing slightly up a hill - it makes you more visible from above.
  • Smoke With Fire
    In extreme circumstances you can light a fire both for warmth and as a distress signal. During the day you need to create smoke and at night flames are more visible.

Survival Tip

In extreme circumstances I have used a spare wheel to create a signal fire because it will burn for at least an hour and create plumes of thick visible smoke (Lofty)

Winter Survival Guide

Download the complete guide

Winter Survival Guide cover


Amid falling temperatures and rising levels of concern among drivers, Halfords Autocentres has worked with renowned survival expert, former SAS Sergeant Major and author of the best-selling SAS Survival Handbook John 'Lofty' Wiseman to create the ultimate Motoring Survival Guide.

Download the complete guide or read on for more winter survival advice.