Whew. Here in Kansas City, we are preparing for our second round of serious winter storm conditions. Anywhere from 6-12 inches are expected in the next 24 hours. Similar conditions are sweeping across the Midwest. On top of large amounts of snow, this storm is bringing strong winds and a large threat of ‘white-out’ conditions. This is extremely dangerous for driving- if you end up off the road, it could be hard for authorities to spot and help you because of limited visibility and the high probability that your car’s tracks will be covered by snow.
If you live in any areas affected by this storm, please avoid ANY AND ALL unnecessary travel.
If for some reason, you must travel, please make sure you have the following items with you in your car and review these tips for how to stay safe and get help if you do become stranded…
What to have in your car:
- Materials to keep you warm: Blankets, a pillow, and warm clothing. Make sure to include a hat and gloves and extra socks! It is also wise to include a waterproof layer like a raincoat.
- Non-perishable food: Nuts, canned tuna, crackers, dry cereal, fruit cups, granola bars and WATER.
- A flashlight: Not only can this help you see, but it can also help you send signals and be seen in white-out conditions
- Extra batteries
- A pair of sturdy boots: In case you do need to leave the car for any reason- plus, they are very warm and waterproof. You may need them to stomp messages in the snow
- A whistle: In white-out conditions, it may be hard for authorities to see you and your car’s tracks may get covered in snow. Bring a whistle; if you can’t be seen, you can still be heard. If you can be heard, you can be rescued
- An orange or red flag: This flag will come in handy to signal to authorities that there is someone in the car in need of assistance
- Any prescription medicine you need: Update your emergency kit to keep it current with your most needed (and non-expired!) medications
- A snow shovel
- Ice scraper
- Jumper cables
- Extra gas
- Fuses: There are several kinds- make sure you have the right ones for your car
- Basic tools: including pliers, screwdrivers, and an adjustable wrench. Also include electrical and duct tape.
- A fire extinguisher
- A knife
- Road flares: Another great way to make sure you are seen in white-out conditions
What’s the best way to avoid getting stranded? Staying off the roads in the first place. If you don’t have an important reason for driving, DON’T.
What to do if you are stranded in your car:
- If you have a cell phone, call for assistance and provide authorities with your location but try not to drain down the battery by using the phone for anything but contacting help!
- Do not panic
- Stay in the car
- Use the supplies you do have conservatively
- If it is daytime: place a red or orange flag on your antenna. If it is nighttime: leave your dome light on, only when the car is running
- Occasionally check your tailpipe to make sure it’s free of snow. Clean the pipe to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning when the engine is running
- Do some minor exercising inside the vehicle to keep up circulation
- If there is more than one person in the car, take turns sleeping. If you are alone, DO NOT sleep while the engine is running!!!
- When the snow stops, try stamping HELP signal in the snow beside your vehicle.