The news channels and the Internet show miles and miles of vehicles stranded on slick roads. They show cars that have smashed into each other and some simply abandoned. The pictures and videos show cars off in ditches and motorists walking away from their vehicles, walking to where, though, well that’s anyone’s guess. Walking into another crisis is the likely outcome.
Emergency workers in Kentucky along with the National Guard were patrolling Interstate 75 helping stranded motorists, by providing water, fuel, and snacks and trying to move cars out of the way of emergency vehicles. Eventually certain stretches of the Interstate were closed to non-emergency traffic. People trying to get home or get to the store jammed the highways preventing anyone from getting anywhere and add slick roads to the mix and you have a disaster in the making.
Snowplows in some cities could not get ready for the massive blizzard of 2016 because there were too many motorists on the highways. Apparently everyone was let out of work at the same time. No thought was given as to the impact this would have. No one thought ahead, a storm is coming so let’s jam the highways by making people come into work and then let them out at noon like every other business and governmental offices.
Road crews were trying to treat the roadways with salt and plow what little snow had already fallen, but there were too many motorists trying to get home, or trying to get to the stores and many could not do either. In Washington D.C. a few inches of snow paralyzed the city, the blizzard had not even made its way to the city, and yet, chaos ensued.
By late Friday, the 23rd of January 2016 Virginia State Police had reported 989 car crashes statewide since the storm began, and had assisted nearly 800 disabled vehicles according to Ken Schrad, spokesman for the Virginia State Police Joint Information Center ( Associated Press, 2016).
We have talked about this in previous articles. Talked about how important it is to stay informed and to plan. Anyone listening to the news and weather reports was not taken by surprise and yet it seems tens of thousands if not millions of people were not prepared. Did they not know and so were not prepared, or rather did they know the storm was coming and did not prepare anyway, or did they not prepare adequately.
You should not allow the government to dictate your moves during a crisis. Do not wait on them to tell you snow is coming and you need to get ready. Do not wait for them to tell you to get chains for your tires and to stock up on essentials, and do not wait on them to bring you food and water as you wait in your vehicle hoping against hope the miles upon miles of cars will move soon.
Do not wait for them to say, “Hey, it’s snowing 3 inches an hour, so maybe you better stay home and off the highways”.
You cannot start planning the day of the crisis or even a few days before, you have to plan all year. It’s winter you have to expect snows, ice, and heavy winds. You have to expect gridlocked highways and shortages at the grocery store.
Start planning early. Save up sick days and vacation time for these types of situations. Unfortunately, those without vacation time or sick days coming cannot always stay home if a storm is coming. Employers need to readjust their emergency planning for times like this as well. Letting everyone out of work at the same time is unavoidable in many cases, but why have everyone come to work in the first place when a blizzard of historic proportions is predicted.
Look ahead during the summer months and save a few sick days and have a few days of vacation time set back.
If you have to travel make sure your vehicle is ready by having chains, food, water, blankets, and sleeping bags in the car. Winter clothing and suitable shoes for snow and ice should be in your vehicle as well. Be prepared to sit for hours or even overnight in your vehicle and to survive this you need warm clothing, blankets, candle heaters, food, water, and communication devices.
Why does everyone wait until snowflakes start falling to rush to the stores? Why didn’t everyone already have their emergency supplies sitting on the pantry shelves? Good questions and we have asked these very questions every time something like this happens.
Your Survival Is Up To You
You may not always get the National Guard and emergency services to deliver food and water to your car, like some drive in fast food restaurant, while you are stranded along a highway in a snowstorm or during any other crisis for that matter. They may get to some people, but may not get to all, so you have to be ready to go it alone. The best remedy, however, is not to be on the highways in the first place, this ensures you will not be stranded on one.
Plan far enough ahead so you do not have to be out in the storm. The police and others are pleading with motorists to stay off the highways so road crews can do their jobs and so emergency first responders can get to the sick and injured. Do not become part of the problem during a crisis.
Associated Press. (2016). Retrieved 2016, from http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/01/23/8000-flights-canceled-coastal-flooding-feared-as-major-blizzard-slams-northeast.html?intcmp=hpbt1