Thursday, February 19, 2009

Use of Automobiles During Winter Storm

"Your automobile can be your best friend--or worst enemy--during winter storms, depending on your preparations. Get your car "winterized" before the storm season begins. Everything on the checklist shown below should be taken care of before winter storms strike your area:

Ignition system
Snow Tires
Wiper blades
Cooling system
Tight exhaust system
Fuel system
Winter-grade oil

1. Winter Storm Car Kit. Be equipped for the worst. Carry a winter storm car kit, especially if cross country travel is anticipated. The kit should contain blankets or sleeping bags, matches and candles, an empty 3-pound can with plastic cover, extra clothing, high-calorie nonperishable food, compass and road maps, knife, first aid kit, shovel, sack of sand, flashlight or signal light, windshield scraper, booster cables, two chains, fire extinguisher, and an axe.

2. Winter travel by automobile is serious business. Keep these points in mind, especially for severe storms:
a. If the storm exceeds or even tests your limitations, seek available refuge immediately.
b. Plan your travel and select primary and alternate routes.
c. Check latest weather information by phone or on your radio.
d. Try to travel with others along.
e. Travel in convoy with another vehicle, if possible.
f. Always fill the gasoline tank before entering open country, even for a short distance.
g. Drive carefully and defensively.

3. If you are trapped in a vehicle by a blizzard, avoid overexertion and exposure. Exertion from attempting to push your car, shoveling heavy drifts, or performing other difficult chores during the strong winds, blinding snow, and bitter cold of a blizzard may cause a heart attack--even for persons in apparently good physical condition. Stay in your vehicle. Do not attempt to walk out of a blizzard. Disorientation comes quickly in blowing and drifting snow. Being lost in open country during a blizzard is almost certain death. You are more likely to be sheltered in your car.

Don't panic. Keep fresh air in your car. Freezing wet snow and wind-driven snow can completely seal the passenger compartment. Beware of the "gentle killers"--carbon monoxide and oxygen starvation. Run the motor and heater sparingly, and only with a rear window open for ventilation.

Exercise by clapping hands and moving arms and legs vigorously from time to time, and do not stay in one position for long. Turn on the dome light at night to make the vehicle visible to work crews. Keep watch. Do not permit all occupants of the car to sleep at once."

(Source: "Emergency Preparedness Manual", pgs. 63, 64)

No comments: