#headsup: Stranded or Helping on the Highway? 4 Important Safety Tips
(Wyoming) – Our great state has received a lot of snow so far this December and it’s making driving conditions dangerous.
“When winter storms hit, it is easy to become stranded, even on short trips and on familiar roads,” said Doug McGee, public affairs manager for the Wyoming Department of Transportation in a safety video.
If you get stranded out on the highway or are helping someone who is stranded, it’s very important to be safe. Just last week, a woman was seriously injured after stepping out of her car to help a stranded motorist on the highway.
Here are some tips from the Wyoming Highway Patrol if you are stranded or are helping someone:
1. Stay Put: If you do get stuck when you can’t easily dig yourself out, the best advice is to stay put. It is your best bet for keeping warm, staying safe and getting help.
“If road conditions are bad, we will be out there looking for stranded motorists,” said Wyoming Highway Patrol Sergeant David Wagener.
2. Call for Help: If you can, call for help with your cell phone.
3. Stay Warm: Insulate yourself from the cold with blankets, floor mats or anything else in your car. Turn on your car periodically for heat, but make sure your tail pipe is clear of snow.
4. Helping? Look at the Big Picture: According to the Wyoming Highway Patrol, if someone does stop to help, they need to be mindful of the big picture and not just focus on the person they are trying to help.
“People who stop to help need to be mindful of how they park (don’t stop in the road, park on the shoulder) so they do not become a hazard themselves,” said Sergeant Wagener. “They should be mindful of oncoming traffic from all directions and keep in mind that if the person they stopped to help lost control and slid off the road, the likelihood of someone else coming along and losing control in that same spot is highly likely. If they have flares or a florescent vest they can utilize, absolutely use it to make yourself as visible as possible to oncoming traffic.”
“We live in Wyoming and the majority of Wyoming residents will want to stop and help. That is just the Wyoming way,” Sergeant Wagener added.
Before you take off on winter trips, make sure you always have a Winter Emergency kit in your car with blankets, extra clothing, non-perishable food and water, and reflective signs or flares. Always notify others about your travel plans and never drive with less than half a tank of gas. Finally, when the weather is bad, think “Is this trip really worth it?”
The Wyoming Highway Patrol always recommends to contact their dispatch center at 1-800-442-9090, 1-307-777-4321, or by 911 to report these incidents so they can send help your way to provide traffic control and any other means of assistance necessary.