While the American Red Cross encourages you to stay off the road if possible, if you have to drive in snow or freezing rain, follow these tips about how to drive safely during a winter storm or what to do if you become stuck in your vehicle:
- Make sure your vehicle is ready for winter with a window scraper, kitty litter or sand in case you get stuck, extra clothes and a Disaster Supplies Kit in your trunk. Pack high-protein snacks, water, first aid kit, flashlight, small battery-operated radio, an emergency contact card with names and phone numbers, extra prescription medications, blankets and important documents or information you may need.
- Fill the vehicle’s gas tank and clean the lights and windows to help you see.
- Find out what disasters may occur where you are traveling and pay attention to the weather forecast. Before you leave, let someone know where you are going, the route you plan to take, and when you expect to get there. If your car gets stuck, help can be sent along your predetermined route.
- If you have to drive, make sure everyone has their seatbelts on and give your full attention to the road. Avoid distractions such as cell phones.
- Don’t follow other vehicles too closely. Sudden stops are difficult on snowy roadways.
- Don’t use cruise control when driving in winter weather.
- Don’t pass snow plows.
- Know that ramps, bridges and overpasses will freeze before roadways.
- Don’t run your engine and heater constantly to help avoid running out of gas. Don’t use things like lights or the radio without the engine running so the battery doesn’t conk out.
- If you can, move your vehicle off the roadway. Stay with it – don’t abandon it. If you have to get out of your vehicle, use the side away from traffic.
You can help people affected by disasters like floods, fires, tornadoes and hurricanes, as well as countless crises at home and around the world, by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance in response to disasters.
Visit www.redcross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Contributions may be sent to the American Red Cross, 430 W. Orange St., Lancaster, PA 17603 or 529 Carlisle St., Hanover, PA 17331 or any one of the local Red Cross offices.
The American Red Cross is a humanitarian organization led by volunteers that provides relief to victims of disasters and helps people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies. All American Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from caring individuals and, in part, by contributions given through the United Way.