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Nov. 24, 2004
Travel Safely During Hazardous Weather
Oswego County residents should be prepared for driving in hazardous winter weather, said Patricia Egan, director of the Oswego County Emergency Management Office. If you are forced to take a trip of any distance and hazardous weather is predicted, take these precautions:
- Make sure your car is in good condition, and properly serviced.
- Maintain a full tank of gas.
- Have emergency winter storm supplies in your car, such as a container of sand, shovel, windshield scraper, flares, booster cables, tow-line or rope, and a flashlight (with extra batteries).
- Take another person with you, if possible.
- Travel by daylight and use major highways if you can. Keep the car radio turned on for weather information and other emergency advice.
- Carry a cellular telephone and keep it charged. Remember not to drive and talk on the cellular telephone without a hands-free device.
- Drive with all possible caution. Don't try to save time by traveling faster than road and weather conditions permit.
- Don't be daring or foolhardy. When storm conditions worsen rapidly, seek refuge immediately.
If your car breaks down during a storm, or you become stalled or lost, don't panic. "Think the problem through, decide what is the safest and best thing to do, and then do it slowly and carefully," Egan said.
Here are some safety tips in the event you are caught in your vehicle in a storm:
- If a storm traps you on the road, pull off the highway, stay calm and remain in your car, where rescuers are most likely to find you. Set your directional lights to flashing, raise the hood of your car, or hang a cloth from the radio aerial or a car window. Then stay in your car and wait for help to arrive.
- Don't try to walk through a blizzard to safety. Getting lost in a storm is extremely dangerous.
- Don't waste gas by running the heater continuously. Beware of the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning. Open a window for ventilation and periodically clear snow away from the exhaust pipe.
- Exercise to maintain body heat. Move arms and legs vigorously and move around within the car.
- Never let everyone in the car sleep at the same time.
- At night, turn on the dome light so work/rescue crews may spot you.
More information on winter travel and other tips for hazardous weather conditions is available by calling the Oswego County Emergency Management Office at 591-9150.
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