Weather Alert

Here’s what to do if you get stranded in your car this winter

Residents of Minnesota and Iowa are practically born with some inherent knowledge of how to drive in the snow, but following this week’s disastrous traffic issues on the east coast following a snowstorm that produced a foot of snow, the American Red Cross is reminding motorists of what to do if/when you should ever become STUCK while driving in winter weather conditions:

Keep these in your vehicle:

  • An emergency supply kit, including warm clothing, water and snacks.
  • A windshield scraper and small broom.
  • A small sack of sand for generating traction under wheels and a set of tire chains or traction mats.
  • Matches in a waterproof container.
  • A brightly colored (preferably red) cloth to tie to the antenna
  • Keep your vehicle’s gas tank full so you can leave right away in an emergency and to keep the fuel line from freezing.

If you become stranded:

  • Stay in the vehicle and wait for help. Do not leave the vehicle to search for assistance unless help is visible within 100 yards (91 meters). You can quickly become disoriented and confused in blowing snow.
  • Display a trouble sign to indicate you need help. Hang a brightly colored cloth (preferably red) on the radio antenna and raise the hood after snow stops falling.
  • Run the engine occasionally to keep warm. Turn on the engine for about 10 minutes each hour (or five minutes every half hour). Running the engine for only short periods reduces the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and conserves fuel. Use the heater while the engine is running. Keep the exhaust pipe clear of snow, and slightly open a downwind window for ventilation.
  • Leave the overhead light on when the engine is running so that you can be seen.


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