Surviving Snow Covered Roads - KFYRTV.COM - Bismarck, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Surviving Snow Covered Roads

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North Dakota weather can change in the blink of an eye.  A sunny winter day can become a snowy mess in just minutes.  Rene Thibault has some tips to help travelers stay safe on the roads, and ways to survive if you become stuck in your vehicle.

 Earlier this month, a Nevada family made headlines after they were forced to survive two nights in sub-zero temperatures.  They were stranded in their Jeep after it overturned in a remote area.  Like the mountains in Nevada, North Dakota experiences harsh weather conditions during the winter months.

 "It certainly can change very rapidly.  And it can change rapidly from one side of the state to the other," stated Sergeant Kevin Huston, with the North Dakota Highway Patrol.  "What may seem like great driving conditions in town can change within a matter of just a few miles outside of town," added KMOT Meteorologist Amanda Lindquist

 For those reason, travelers need to use extra caution during winter.  Drivers should plan out their trips, tell a family member or friend where you're going, when you plan to arrive, and check in along the way.  If you were to become stranded, those people could send help your way.

 If bad weather does it and you do find yourself trapped in your car, remember to stay calm and never leave your vehicle, especially at night.  You can become disoriented and loose your way, and loose your only shelter.  Remember, emergency crews are looking for you.

 "We can't stress enough that if you are stranded or you're in the ditch somewhere, you have to stay with your vehicle.  You eventually will be found.  You can survive for a day or two in your vehicle if you put your mind to it," said Huston.  To help you make it through those situations, Winter Safety kits are an important tool to have.

 "Winter survival kits can save your life, and that's not exaggerating at all.  Imagine if you were stuck in your car over night, possibly even two nights out there.  You have temperatures dropping well below zero.  Wind-chills up to 50 below like we saw the other night," Lindquist said.  Keep warm clothing, blankets, high calorie foods, water, and a flashlight and radio.  You can by ready-made kits, or easily make one out of items around your home.  "Winter Safety Kits are the number one investment you should make when you move here.  In order to be ready for the winter, you should have that kit in your vehicle at all times," concluded Lindquist.

 And remember, you can stay up to date on the latest road conditions by calling 511 or checking out the state Department of Transportation website.

 North Dakota Highway Patrol also suggests that drivers try to fight the urge to stop and help people who are stuck.  Your own vehicle can become trapped and you could become a hazard for the rest of the traveling motorists.

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