As we prepare for possibly one of the biggest snow storms in years, Prince William County Department of Fire and Rescue urge residents to “Stay off the Roads, Not Out in the Weather (SNOW) and Get Where You Need to be Before the Weather Gets Bad.” If you don’t have to travel, don’t! The safest place during a winter storm is indoors. But, if travel is unavoidable, be prepared for the worst. Would you know what to do if you became stranded while traveling in your vehicle? According to the National Weather Service, the majority (70%) of snow and ice related fatalities occur in automobiles and approximately 25% are people caught off guard, out in the storm. Before you hit the road, follow these simple safety tips:
Winterize Your Vehicle
- Prior to Inclement weather, be sure to check:
- Antifreeze levels
- Battery and ignition system
- Exhaust system
- Fuel and air filters
- Heater and defroster
- Lights and flashing hazard lights
- Oil level and weight
- Windshield wiper equipment
- Install good winter tires
Traveling in a Vehicle
- Check your local weather forecast and road conditions.
- Listen to your NOAA radio; a good way to keep ahead of the winter storm.
- If possible, try to avoid traveling in dangerous conditions.
- Be sure to carry warm winter clothes.
- Be sure to tell someone, family or friends, about your travel plans.
- Keep your gas tank near full to avoid gas line freezing.
- Make an emergency winter survival kit for your vehicle:
o Windshield scraper and small broom
o Flashlight w/extra batteries
o Battery powered radio
o Bottled water for each person and your pet
o Snack foods, containing protein, e.g. raisins, dried fruit, nuts, energy bars,
canned fruit and a portable can opener
o Extra winter boots, coats, hats, socks and mittens/gloves
o First-aid kit
o Multi-tool, folding pocket knife
o Toilet paper
o Fully charged cell phone & charger
o Necessary medications
o Blankets (a space blanket if possible, and/or sleeping bags)
o Tow chain or rope
o Nylon cord
o Flagging tape or fluorescent distress flag
o Road salt and sand or cat litter
o Booster cables
o Emergency flares or reflective triangle
If You Become Stranded
o First call for help; if you can’t get your car unstuck, don’t leave your car and
begin walking for help. You stand a much better chance of being found if you
remain with your car; it also provides the best shelter from the elements.
- Run the motor about 10 minutes each hour for heat.
- Make sure that the exhaust pipe is not blocked and roll down a window for adequate ventilation to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Make your vehicle visible to rescuers by tying a red-colored cloth to the antenna or by turning on the inside dome light while running the engine.
For more information, visit capitalregionupdates.gov and ready.gov.