When winter weather is really (really!) bad, it is best to stay off the roads, even if that means being late for work or a job interview—both are vital, but your safety is even more important (just be sure to call in so your delay is expected). No matter how cautious you are, it is easy to end up driving in dangerous conditions such as on black ice or even in a full-on blizzard. So if you’re heading out and you’re prepared for the worst (see our previous post for Winter Car Prep) and you get snowed-in (see our previous post on Winter Car Kit essentials), Masiello Employment has put together this list of steps to get you, and your passengers, safely out of danger.
- Call 9-1-1: Be as specific as possible about your location and your predicament, then follow directions and don’t hang up until help arrives—if you have a passenger in your car, use his or her cell phone to make any other necessary calls (to a family member or your supervisor/employer);
- Make Yourself Seen: If possible, place road flares and emergency reflectors around your car; at night, turn on a ceiling light in your vehicle; to save your battery life, turn on your emergency flashers only when you hear approaching vehicles; if you have a passenger in your vehicle, make sure one of you is always awake in order to signal for help;
- Stay In Your Car: Being outside in a storm exposes you to the elements, and you might exhaust yourself or get lost—you might also be hard to see by other cars, which could be disastrous; if you have to leave your car, write down your name, cell phone number, and the direction in which you’re heading on a piece of paper and leave it inside the front windshield;
- Stay Warm: No matter how awkward it feels, move your arms, legs, fingers, and toes often, and bundle up in all extra clothing and under all available blankets;
- Listen To Your Body: Digging out your car is hard work—be careful to avoid an injury or severe health emergency (like a heart attack), and if you start to sweat, stop what you’re doing as wet clothing ups your risk of hypothermia; and
- Get Lots of Fresh Air: You’ll be cold, but you should only run the car engine once an hour, for no more than 10 minutes and, even then, keep a window open a crack to let in fresh air—and because a plugged-up exhaust pipe can allow carbon monoxide to flood your car, keep snow from building up around the exhaust.
Follow these steps to stay safe and increase your chances of getting rescued quickly. (Please share this post with your friends and family so they also know what to do should they get snowed-in.)
This concludes our trio of blogs of winter commuting safety and preparedness. Remember, spring arrives on March 20th!