Residents throughout the entire Southwestern Pennsylvania Region are digging out from the recent snow storm, and with more winter weather predicted for the coming days, conditions could get worse.
Wintry weather creates numerous dangers for people of all ages, and none of these dangers is greater than driving in the snow. The American Red Cross – which is dedicated to helping people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies – urges residents to be safe during winter storms.
Red Cross officials recommend avoiding driving during wintry conditions unless absolutely necessary. For those who do need to drive in the snow, the Red Cross offers the following safety tips:
- Tell another individual your destination and planned route so that if you get stuck, help will be sent.
- Fill up gas tank before weather hits, and don’t let the gas level approach empty.
- Keep an ear tuned to the radio for information on the latest road conditions.
- Drive with headlights on.
- Keep all windows clear of snow and ice for maximum visibility.
- Leave extra space between your vehicle and others on the road.
- Remember bridges and overpasses usually freeze before other roads.
- Always wear a seat belt.
- Bring a fully-charged cell phone and emergency phone numbers.
- Keep a disaster supplies travel kit in all vehicles containing blankets, extra warm clothes, a flashlight, extra batteries, bottled water, ready-to-eat food, can opener, jumper cables, roadmaps, shovel, knife, tire repair kit, tow rope, and a bag of cat litter or sand (for traction).
If You Get Stranded
- Stranded drivers should stay with their vehicles. Leaving to find help can be very dangerous, and even deadly.
- Tie a piece of cloth to the cars antenna to signify that you need help.
- If you have a cell phone and are in service range, call for help. However, use the cell phone sparingly to save battery power.
- Run the engine and use the heater for ten minutes out of every hour, keep interior lights on only while engine is running.
- Reduce the chances of hypothermia by constantly moving arms and legs.
- Use blankets, water, and non-perishable foods to stay warm and nourished (see above).
For more important safety tips, visit swpa.redcross.org.