Winter is here! Part 5 of 5: Safe Winter Travel
Winter can be a great time for visiting. With a few extra days off from work, many plan a wintery road trip. It is advised to avoid non-essential travel when the National Weather Service has issued advisories. If you must travel, do so only during the light hours of the day and inform a friend or relative of your proposed route and expected time of arrival. Before you hit the road, please refer to part 2 of this series where we discuss additional information for preparing your car for winter. Also read below for life-saving safety rules if you happen to become stranded in your vehicle:
- Check your vehicle emergency supplies kit and replenish it if necessary.
- Bring enough of the following for each person:
- Blankets or sleeping bag
- Rain gear, extra sets of dry clothing, mittens, socks, and wool hats
- Newspapers for insulation
- Plastic bags for sanitation
- Canned fruit, nuts, and high energy snacks
- Warm broth in a thermos and several bottles of water
- Bring your cell phone and make sure the battery is charged.
- Plan to travel during daylight and, if possible, take another person with you.
- Let someone know your destination, your route, and when you expect to arrive.
- Before leaving, check the weather reports for all areas you will be passing through.
- Watch out for sleet, freezing rain, freezing drizzle, and dense fog.
If you become stranded:
- Stay in the vehicle and wait for help. Do not leave the vehicle to search for assistance unless help is visible within 100 yards (91 meters).
- Display a trouble sign to indicate you need help. Hang a brightly colored cloth (preferably red) on the radio antenna and raise the hood after snow stops falling.
- Turn on the engine for about 10 minutes each hour. Use the heater while the engine is running. Keep the exhaust pipe clear of snow, and slightly open a downwind window for ventilation.
- Leave the overhead light on when the engine is running so that you can be seen.
- Do light exercises to keep up circulation. Clap your hands and move your arms and legs occasionally.
- If more than one person is in the vehicle, take turns sleeping.
- Huddle together for warmth. Wrap yourself in newspapers, maps, and even the removable floor mats to help trap more body heat.
- Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia.
- Drink fluids to avoid dehydration, which can make you more susceptible to the ill effects of cold and to heart attacks.
- Avoid overexertion. Shoveling snow or pushing a vehicle can bring on a heart attack or make other medical conditions worse.
This ends our five part series on Winter Preparedness. We hope you found it helpful. No one can stop the onset of winter, however, if you follow these suggestions, you will be better able to deal with the challenges winter brings.
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