When snow storm Jonas hit Maryland in January of 2016, millions of people were affected as time seemed to stand still.
Highways had to be closed to be plowed, residents were advised to stay indoors, and cars – that were still driving then – got stuck under more than three feet of snow. Various property and establishments were covered in a thick blanket of snow. Lucky if you were able to get home and stay warm. But if you were stranded, you need to be prepared for the worst.
In one of the worst possible weather conditions, how do you survive? Here are three basic tips to keep in mind if you happen to find yourself stuck in a snow storm.
Snow Storm Safety Tip #1: Stay indoors.
If you’re already inside your home or office, it’s best to stay in. If you find yourself outside, immediately seek shelter.
People stuck in their cars should try not to find help – unless it’s within 100 yards. The danger comes from possible disorientation or being blown off by strong winds. Those who are not dressed properly run the risk of hypothermia or frostbite.
Those inside their vehicles should place hazard signs outside to inform rescue teams or passersby that there’s someone in the car. If you don’t have one, a brightly colored cloth or scarf tied around the antenna should alert others of your presence. Conserve gas by letting the engine run for about 10 minutes or so, just enough to keep you warm.
Carbon monoxide poisoning is common when trapped inside your car. So check that your exhaust is clear of snow or blockage.
Snow Storm Safety Tip #2: Keep warm.
If you’re stuck in your car alone during a snow storm, keep warm by doing simple exercises such as moving your legs or doing push-ups. But don’t over-exert yourself! Wrap yourself in blankets, newspapers, or mats (if you have those in your vehicle). For those stranded with other people in the car, huddle for warmth.
Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol as this can speed up the cold in the body. Always opt for water.
Snow Storm Safety Tip #3: Remain hydrated.
Lucky for you if you have water bottles in your car. If there’s none, you can melt the snow. This is especially safe, as long as you don’t eat it as it will lower your core body temperature.
If you have a Ziplock bag or a metal container, put some ice on it, and use your body temperature to slowly melt it. It will take a while, and you won’t get enough, but it’s better than nothing. If you get dehydrated, your body temperature will drop further.
Staying Safe from Snow Storms
It’s not surprising for trucks to also get stranded on roads during a snow storm.
If it gets bad, they can slide on ice and jackknife. This often causes blockages on highways, stranding dozens of vehicles and passengers. Always observe safe driving this season. Keep emergency numbers handy, and be sure to pack a winter emergency kit in your vehicle. Your best resort is to be prepared.
For those who have been involved in truck accidents in Maryland due to snow storm or winter-related incidents, get in touch with a trucking accident lawyer immediately.