Polar Vortex Grips Nation In Deep Freeze

INSIDE EDITION reports on the polar vortex and the effects it's having across the nation as record cold temperatures blast several states.

Imagine being trapped on a frozen tundra for 15 excruciating hours in this weather. Five hundred passengers found themselves on board three Amtrak trains outside Chicago with nowhere to go after ice and snow stopped them in their tracks.

The passengers were finally rescued Tuesday morning when they boarded a convoy of buses.

One hundred eighty seven million Americans are affected by the coldest arctic outbreak in decades. Forty nine states will have some form of freezing temperatures today. The only exception is blue Hawaii.

In Illinois, a car was caught on video as it spun out on black ice. It's minus 26 in Chicago. Lake Michigan is steaming like a giant hot tub.  

One Chicago resident videotaped himself opening his window, where freezing cold air and ice blew in with great force.

This morning at INSIDE EDITION's Paul Boyd's home in New Jersey, he wasn't sure whether he was going to be able to get the car started.

Calls to AAA are pouring in, says AAA's Robert Sinclair.

Boyd asked Sinclair, "What are the most common calls you guys get a AAA?"

"Without a doubt, dead batteries. Then, flat tires. Then, lock outs. Then, extracations. Then, no traction," said Sinclair.

Watch More of Sinclair's Tips Here

Sinclair urges everyone to keep a set of jumper cables in the car.

"You have to keep in mind that a battery loses as much as 60% of it's power when the temperature reaches 0 or below," said Sinclair.

Here's another useful tip: keep your gas tank as full as possible.

Sinclair said, "Gasoline doesnt freeze, but any moisture in the tank will. So, you want to keep the tank as full as possible. That way, you'll keep any humid air, any moisture-laiden air out of the tank and prevent that moisture from freezing."

The cold is bringing out the amateur scientists. Throwing boiling water into the frigid air is a popular experiment. One person found that when you put boiling water in a Super Soaker it becomes a freeze ray. But if you're going to do this, please be careful! Your can burn yourself badly.

No need for skis when one hill was frozen solid and people slid down the hill on their own.

And one guy in Canada was video taped sliding down the road on knee pads duct taped to his knees.