Blizzard Blows Into Central Plains, Southwest

Blizzard Blows Into Central Plains, Southwest http://learningcenter.statefarm.com/auto/blizzard-blows-into-central-plains-southwest/ bb3 Dec 19, 2011

By Holly Anderson, Editor in Chief

High winds coupled with snow and icy roads, create hazardous driving conditions for residents in the Central Plaines and Southwest.

The National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning Monday and Tuesday for parts of New Mexico, southeast Colorado, southwest Kansas, northern Texas and the Oklahoma Panhandle.

Near whiteout conditions and as much as two foot of snow could create hazardous travel conditions. If you donít have to travel, donít.

If you have to drive in severe weather, itís important to take extra precaution.

Ice or Snow

  • Slow down. Bridges and overpasses freeze first, so take it slow and avoid sudden changes in speed or direction.
  • Keep windows clear. Visibility is crucial, especially in bad weather. Turn the wipers on and crank up the defroster, if necessary. And make sure that all items are removed from the back window area. If you're still having trouble seeing, safely pull over to the side of the road.
  • Brake cautiously. Abrupt braking can cause lock-up and loss of steering control. If you have anti-lock brakes, apply constant, firm pressure to the pedal.
  • Resist the urge to "floor it." If you get stuck in snow, straighten the wheels and accelerate slowly. Avoid spinning the tires. Use sand or blocks under the drive wheels.

If you are stranded

If a winter storm strands you with your vehicle, stay calm and follow these tips:

  • Pull off the highway (if possible), turn on your hazard lights and hang a distress flag from an antenna or window.
  • If you have a phone, call 911 and describe your location as precisely as possible. Follow any instructions from the dispatcher.
  • Remain in your vehicle so help can find you.
  • Run your vehicle's engine and heater about 10 minutes each hour to keep warm. Open a downwind window slightly for ventilation and clear snow from the exhaust pipe to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Exercise a little to maintain body heat, but avoid overexertion and sweating.
  • Drink fluids to avoid dehydration.
  • Don't waste your vehicle's battery power. Balance electrical energy needs Ė lights, heat and radio Ė with supply.
  • At night, turn on an inside light when you run the engine so help can see you.
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