Emergency responders call for safety precautions for winter driving
LEBANON, NH (WCAX) – Drivers in Virginia were stuck in their cars for more than a day after a sudden snowstorm hit the DC metro area on Monday. It’s a nightmare scenario that first responders in our region say everyone should be prepared for.
“I’ve definitely helped people who have found themselves in this situation,” said Van Lory of Hartland. Although he says he’s never been blocked personally, he agrees that it’s good to be prepared.
Bad weather in our area is not uncommon and accidents can happen, including an incident Wednesday in southern New Hampshire.
“I usually keep like an extra jacket or something in the back seat. Maybe a shovel, a snow brush and a tow rope to pull someone else,” Lory said.
Hundreds of travelers on I-95 in Virginia were stranded in freezing temperatures during Monday’s storm, some without food or proper clothing for 24 hours. Kelly Short of Quechee was aware of the incident and admits that a stash of emergency supplies in her car is not something she usually travels with. “Because we have roadside assistance with our two cars. I think before we had that, we used to keep more stuff on hand,” she said.
First responders say a car safety kit is good practice no matter what. “On Christmas Day we had a pretty big icing event here in the upper valley,” Lebanon Fire Chief Chris Christopoulos said.
He says travelers should pack items including extra hats and gloves, a blanket, water, snacks and roadside flares. “We tell you to be ready in your home for 72 hours in the event of a power outage, or whatever. Think of your car as an extension of your home,” Christopoulos said.
Christopoulos recommends staying off the roads in bad weather and slowing down if you must travel. In some cases, he says, emergency response times can also be delayed during a storm. “You’ve gone off the road – a slide – you’re going down a ditch, you can be nowhere to be found for hours.”
And the chef says one thing you shouldn’t do is just rely on your cell phone. Batteries can die and service can be spotty, especially in our area.
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