Staying Safe on the Road in Drizzle, Sleet, and Snow

When I was a kid I used to love waking up and seeing the sparkly white sheet of snow outside, and wished that there would be enough of it for me to make a snowman. But as an adult the mere mention of snow throws me in a state of panic. This morning I woke up and realized that I had to drive my nephew to his school in snowy weather. Although my nephew’s school is less than 5 minutes away, it’s a dangerous route as the chances of skidding on the narrower street are much higher.

Before leaving my home I decided to make a plan and take the routes that I knew would minimize the risk of my car skidding. If you are in the same situation as me and your best option is to drive, it’s a good idea to pre-plan your commute. Here are some useful tips from the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago:

Before you hit the roads
• Let your family or friends know your destination, your primary and alternate routes, and when you expect to arrive. If your vehicle gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along your predetermined route.
• Pay attention to the weather forecast. Your local TV and radio stations can provide updated storm information that can help you avoid treacherous weather.

If you are stranded
• Stranded drivers should stay with the vehicle and not try to walk to safety. You can quickly become disoriented in wind-driven snow and run the risk of developing hypothermia and frostbite. Exercise your arms and legs to maintain body heat.
• Use the heater for 10 minutes every hour and leave the overhead light on when the engine is running so you can be seen.
• Keep the exhaust pipe clear so fumes won’t back up in the vehicle
• Make it easier for rescuers to find you by tying a brightly colored cloth to the antenna
• After the snow has subsided, raise the hood to indicate you need help.

In snowy weather it is important to keep calm while driving and be prepared. For more safety tips visit winter storm safety and preparation, please visit the chicagoredcross.org.

Written by: Erica Serna

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