Every winter across the U.S., major storms cause disruptions, flight cancelations, snarled traffic, and emergencies. Driving through extreme weather is especially ill-advised and can, of course, be treacherous. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, there are an average of more than 1.25 million weather-related crashes on U.S. roads each year. But while it’s best to avoid driving in bad weather, snowy and unpredictable conditions can catch out even the most cautious drivers. Therefore, it pays to be prepared. And these handy tips can help you stay safe if you get stuck on the road in your vehicle when extreme weather strikes.
8 things to do in a winter storm while driving
- First, it’s important that you try to keep your car’s gas tank as close to full as possible. Storms can arrive or worsen quickly, and running out of gas can put you in danger.
- If you’re stopped or stuck, try to make sure your car is somewhere safe and visible. It’s important in case you need to be rescued. Also, stay in your car.
- Be prepared by keeping snacks and water in your vehicle. When you’re stuck, it might be for hours.
- If you’re stopped for a long period of time, try to run your engine for only about 10 minutes every hour. Sitting in an idling car wastes fuel and could expose you and your passengers to harmful fumes, according to the Environmental Defense Fund.
- Another thing to keep on hand in your car is a portable battery to charge phones and other devices.
- When your car is running, it’s a good time to open a window for ventilation.
- If temperatures get really low, try to bundle up with all the clothes and jackets you have on hand.
- If you are stopped in heavy snow, make sure the area around your tailpipe is clear to avoid poisonous carbon monoxide exhaust fumes backing up into the vehicle.
Preparation, they say, is the key to success. But in bad weather, it may also be the key to survival.