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Winter Storm 2021: Staying safe behind the wheel in snow

Posted at 6:32 PM, Feb 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-16 19:50:01-05

One of the most important tips to remember during a snowstorm — don't get out on the roads if you don't have to. But if you find yourself an emergency and you must get behind the wheel, be prepare yourself in case you get stranded.

It can happen in the blink of an eye... spinning, pinballing, careening out of control. During round one of our wicked winter weather, we found AhToya Horton rescuing her daughter from an accident along the Keystone Expressway after she pin-balled into the guard rail and back across the highway.

"I was scared for her because she's not a very experienced driver," Horton said.

And for those drivers who get stranded in our next snowstorm, the Oklahoma National Guard will be out to rescue them.

"We've gone and checked those vehicles to make sure there's no civilians inside that need heat or assistance in any way," said Lt. Adam Osburn with the Oklahoma National Guard.

But it could take time for crews to get there, so experts provided the following tips to be prepared:

  • Stay inside your vehicle and turn on your hazards.
  • Carry a fully charged cell phone.
  • Dial *55 for the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.
  • Clear your tailpipe often to prevent carbon monoxide buildup in the car.
  • Keep moving and stay active inside your car to help keep warm.
  • Drink water because dehydration can make you more susceptible to the effects of the cold. If you have to, melt snow in a bag or cup to drink.
  • Conserve your vehicle's battery. Use lights, heat and radio sparingly.
  • Run your engine 10 minutes every hour to keep the car warm.
  • Open a downwind window for ventilation to again prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Be careful not to overexert yourself. Shoveling snow or pushing a car can put you at risk of a heart attack.

As for Horton, she'll heed the warning you hear during every snowstorm.

"Stay home. If you don't have to leave, stay home," she said.

Remember, if you are stranded, call *55. That includes getting help from the Oklahoma Highway Patrol and the Oklahoma National Guard.

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