National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce
Press Release
From the National Weather Service
Baltimore-Washington Forecast Office

... Preparedness on the Road ...

Winter storms can make highways treacherous. The best advice is to stay home. But if you must be on the roads, then be prepared. Now is the time to get ready for the winter weather ahead.


Before the storm strikes ..........

  • Get your car winterized. Have your battery, antifreeze, oil, wipers and tires checked.
  • Carry a winter storm survival kit. This includes items to keep you warm and dry such as blankets, a change of clothes and high calorie food. It also includes items such as a shovel, flash light and batteries, ice scraper and brush, tow rope, booster cables, road maps, water-proof matches, and drinking water.
  • Stay tuned to the latest weather information before your trip.
  • Plan your trip before leaving. Let someone know the route that you are headed on and an alternate route in case roads are closed. It is best to not travel alone.
  • Keep your gas tank full. This provides extra weight for traction and helps prevent ice from forming in your fuel line.
  • Clean off snow and ice before you start your trip. Windows, lights, roof, hood and trunk should be clear of snow and ice to prevent reduced visibility or a hazard to other vehicles if blown off once you begin driving.


If caught on the road in a Winter Storm .....................

  • Stay in your vehicle unless you can see shelter nearby. Disorientation occurs quickly in wind-driven snow and cold.
  • Run the motor about ten minutes each hour for heat. Be sure to open a window for a little fresh air to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning and make sure that the exhaust pipe is not blocked.
  • Make yourself visible to rescuers.
    • turn the dome light on at night when running the engine.
    • tie a colored cloth (preferably red) to your antenna or door.
    • raise the hood indicating trouble after the snow stops falling.
  • Exercise to stay warm. Exercising from time to time by vigorously moving arms, legs, figures and toes will keep the blood circulating and help keep you warm.