A snowstorm in Virginia stranded hundreds of drivers on Interstate 95 this week, leaving them shivering hour after hour, wondering why they couldn’t move and when help was coming.
Safety experts offered advice on how to stay safe in vehicles after the storm. Their top tip: Be prepared.
First, a caveat. Before you head out on the road, make sure to check the weather forecast. It is best to stay put if a snowstorm is predicted.
These safety tips are important for anyone who ventures out.
Pack a ‘go bag.’
Dr. Ken Zafren is an emergency medicine professor at Stanford University. He is also an emergency physician at Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage.
Experts recommend that you have the following: blankets, sleeping bags and boots, parkas, blankets, sleeping bags, sleeping bags, boots, mittens and flares, medication, wipes, medication, flares, medication, medications, wipes, a shovel.
Experts recommend that you keep these items in your car all year.
You are on the right road. The ground is covered in snow. Traffic is jammed. What can we do now?
Experts advise that you don’t leave your car. It is the safest place until the storm passes.
“No matter how cold it is inside the car, it will be colder outside,” said Gordon Giesbrecht, a professor at the University of Manitoba who has studied human responses to extreme environments.
Winter Storms in the United States
A barrage winter storms has decimated the country from the East Coast to Western U.S.
He suggested that you resist the urge to run out and look for help. You could become lost or hypothermic if you venture outside.
Instead, generate heat by turning on the car for up to 10 minutes every hour, said Dr. Steve Mitchell, a medical director at the Harborview Medical Center’s emergency department in Seattle. You could end up wasting gas if you wait too long.
He added that while the human body naturally generates warmth, young people lose heat quicker. Wearing a hat will ensure that you don’t lose heat.
Dr. Giesbrecht suggests that you maximize your body heat and hug your chest while putting your hands in the pits.
Experts say there is one situation where you should not step outside. It is when your tailpipe is blocked to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
Take care of your body.
It’s easy for people to feel scared or isolated. But, remember that there are other people around you who are also in a similar situation, according to Dr. Grant Lipman. He is the founder of Global Outdoor Emergency Support which offers tips and tricks for emergencies.
He advised that you avoid foods high in fat and carbs if you have them. They will give you energy as well as warmth. This includes candy bars, chocolate, and nuts.
Dr. Mitchell suggested that you drink melted snow if you run dry of water. But don’t drink alcohol. It can cause confusion.
Dr. Lipman suggests keeping a few wipes and a tampon handy in case you need them.
He said that while your phone can be a distraction, it is important to keep your battery charged so you can make emergency calls. Close any browsers or battery draining apps.
Dr. Lipman suggested that you can distract yourself by doing small, warm exercises in your car.
What about pets?
According to the American Kennel Club, hypothermia is more common in puppies, older dogs and lean breeds.
Experts recommend that you include food and blankets for your pet in your emergency kit. You could snuggle up with your pet while you are driving to keep them warm. You could also cover your pet with some insulation.
Be visible to rescuers
Experts recommend that you turn on your dome or hazard lights when your engine is running. This will allow rescuers to see you.
The National Weather Service suggests that you tie a bright-colored fabric to your door or antenna. To signal for help, raise your hood when the snow melts.
Driving when the storm passes
Avoid skidding by driving slowly. It takes longer to accelerate in icy conditions, according AAA. Accelerating too quickly can cause wheels spin out of control.
Keep your distance from other cars, trucks, snow plows, and other vehicles.
Cold weather can cause tire pressure to drop. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s guidance, drivers should inspect tires at least once a month and before taking long trips.
Source: NY Times