As a major winter storm barrels through the region, road conditions are expected to deteriorate quickly. Slushy snow and ice could make for slick, dangerous roads. High snow rates along with gusty winds could lower driving visibility significantly. Of course, the Red Cross recommends staying off the roads during hazardous winter weather. However, if travel is necessary, the American Red Cross recommends making safety a priority. Having an automobile preparedness kit in your vehicle at all times will not only come in handy but will also keep you safe in case you experience trouble on the roads.
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Cell Phone Car Charger
- Blanket and/or emergency Mylar blanket
- Fleece Hat, Gloves, Scarf
- Folding Shovel
- Sand or Cat Litter
- Ice Scraper and Snow Brush
- First-Aid Kit
- Small battery-operated radio
- Emergency contact card with names and phone numbers
- Extra prescription medications
- Bottled Water
- High protein snacks
- An automobile first-aid zip kit.This kit contains an assortment of bandages, gauze, antiseptic, insect relief pads, sunscreen and sanitizer. Cost is $10.00.
- Personal Safety Emergency Pack. This kit contains emergency blanket, drinking water, emergency poncho, light stick, whistle, mini first-aid kit and mask. Cost is $11.00
Both kits are affordably priced and can be easily kept in a vehicle’s glove box.
If driving is unavoidable, safety should be your number one priority. Make sure your vehicle has plenty of gas and pay attention to the weather forecast for your travel route and destination. Buckle up, be alert and drive slowly with caution. In the event that your vehicle becomes disabled, keep the car running, make sure the exhaust pipe is clear and leave the window open a crack until help arrives.
- Fill the vehicle’s gas tank and clean the lights and windows to help you see.
- Pay attention to the weather forecast. Before you leave, let someone know where you are going, the route you plan to take, and when you expect to get there. If your car gets stuck, help can be sent along your predetermined route.
- If you have to drive, make sure everyone has their seat belts on and give your full attention to the road. Avoid distractions such as cell phones.
- Don’t follow other vehicles too closely. Sudden stops are difficult on snowy roadways.
- Don’t use cruise control when driving in winter weather.
- Don’t pass snow plows.
- Know that ramps, bridges and overpasses will freeze before roadways.
If you become stuck in the snow or icy conditions:
- Stay with the car. Do not try to walk to safety.
- Tie a brightly colored cloth (preferably red) to the antenna for rescuers to see.
- Don’t run your engine and heater constantly to help avoid running out of gas. Don’t use things like lights or the radio without the engine running so the battery doesn’t conk out.
- If you can, move your vehicle off the roadway. Stay with it – don’t abandon it. If you have to get out of your vehicle, use the side away from traffic.
- Start the car and use the heater for about 10 minutes every hour. Keep the exhaust pipe clear so fumes won’t back up in the car.
- Leave the overhead light on when the engine is running to help rescuers see the vehicle.
- Keep one window slightly open – away from the blowing wind – to let in air.