A winter storm system is making its way across Kansas with freezing rain and snow. The Kansas Division of Emergency Management is strongly recommending Kansans change their travel plans if possible. There is a concern for extreme blowing snow that will drastically limit visibility to those on affected Kansas roadways.
“I encourage all Kansans to stay off the roads this evening as inclement weather moves through the area,” said Governor Laura Kelly. “Be cautious of road conditions and look out for emergency response vehicles and KDOT crews working to make roads safer.”
“If you must be on the road make sure your vehicle’s emergency kit is stocked, your gas tank is full and your cell phone and charger are with you and someone knows your travel plans,” said Angee Morgan, deputy director of KDEM. “Be mindful of all emergency response personnel out on Kansas roadways and give them space to do their jobs to ensure their safety and that of our citizens.”
Vehicle emergency kits should include blankets, flashlights, batteries, a cell phone charger, hand-warmers, high-energy food snacks, bottled water, necessary medications, a snow shovel, flares and other emergency supplies. Make sure someone is aware of your itinerary, including expected time of arrival.
The Kansas Department of Transportation has reported that I-70 between Colby and the Colorado border due to road conditions in Colorado. Winter road conditions are accessible by dialing 5-1-1 from your mobile phone anywhere in Kansas; outside Kansas call 1-866-511-5368 (KDOT). Road conditions many also be viewed on the Kansas Department of Transportation web site at http://kandrive.org.
If you do slide off the road the safest place to be is in your vehicle. Stay in your vehicle, make sure your exhaust pipe is clear and not clogged with snow or ice debris or you run the risk of filling your vehicle with carbon monoxide. Run your car sparingly while you are waiting on help. Keep the window cracked. If you are stuck in the snow call the Kansas Highway Patrol by dialing *HP (47), or *KTA (582) while on the Kansas Turnpike.
Information on winter driving tips is available from the Kansas Highway Patrol at http://www.kansashighwaypatrol.org/259/Winter-Driving-Tips. You can also follow the Kansas Highway Patrol on Facebook and Twitter at www.kansashighwaypatrol.org.
On the road, remember the following:
· Allow extra time for delays and slower traffic speeds.
· Buckle up and properly secure children in safety seats.
· Increase the distance between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead of you. Ice and snow significantly increase your stopping distance.
· Accelerate and brake gently. A light foot on the gas is less likely to make wheels spin on ice and snow. Braking is best accomplished by pumping the pedal. If your vehicle has an anti-lock braking system, it is very important that you understand how to use it. Read the owner’s manual or check with a dealership for more information, and practice using it correctly.
· Make turns slowly and gradually, especially in heavily traveled areas (e.g. intersections that may be icy from snow that melted and refroze).
· Visibility is very important. You must be able to see out, and other drivers must be able to see your vehicle. Clean frost and snow off all windows, mirrors, and lights. Use headlights as necessary.
· If your car loses traction and begins to slide, steer into the swerve, or in the direction you want to go. Anticipate a second skid in the opposite direction as the car straightens out.
Outdoor pets are especially vulnerable to bitter cold and extreme wind chills. Bring outdoor pets inside if possible or ensure that they have a draft-free enclosure with straw-type bedding that is large enough for your pets to lie down, but small enough to hold in body heat if they must remain outside. Always make sure that your pets have access to food and non-frozen water.
For additional pet safety information, go to the American Veterinary Medical Association http://avma.org and for general winter preparedness information, go to www.ready.gov.
For a complete list of items for an emergency kit, go to www.ready.gov.