Stranded in the Cold? Here’s What to Do

Experts give us the lowdown on what to do and what not to do when your car is stranded or struck.

It’s our worst fear as drivers.  Going off the road, out of sight and stranded in the middle of the brutal cold.

We would all like to think we are safe drivers.

And if we are not safe drivers, we believe our vehicle is safe.

But if you think sliding off the road can’t happen to you…think again.

“People are driving too fast in these conditions is usually what results in them losing control on the road,” said Sgt. Jesse Grabow with Minnesota State Patrol.

With our recent winter storm and now temps dropping below zero, officials tell us it’s important to be more prepared than ever.

AAA says in the last few weeks, they have had a 500 percent increase in the amount of rescue calls.

“A lot of that can be prevented by people just being prepared for what’s about to come,” said Gene LaDoucer, who is with AAA. “Make sure your car is checked, it has all the maintenance done.”

LaDoucer says calls have been people asking for help with their cars being stuck, stranded and those who have been in accidents.

And if you do find yourself stranded, officials say the best thing for you to do is to stay put.

Sgt. Grabow says many people do their first instinct, which is to go for help.

This can put you in a life-threatening situation by making you disoriented, or by getting frostbite or hypothermia.

He says one driver he recently dealt with put himself at risk.

“They didn’t wait for help, they started to panic, they took off, they didn’t have a coat they didn’t have a hat they didn’t have gloves,” he explained. “And as they took off running through the deep snow, they even lost their shoes.”

When it comes to coming upon someone who may be stranded, LaDoucer says being a Good Samaritan may not be the best decision.

“If you are in a busy traffic environment, you stopping could also provide additional hazard for other motorists,” he said.

“Do you have a family with you?” added Sgt. Grabow. “I mean, by your vehicle sitting there that could also become a target and get hit out there too.”

Sgt. Grabow says the best way to avoid being stranded out in the cold is by slowing down and driving for the conditions.

He also says drivers who use common sense are already on their way to their destination.

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