Residents Urged to Minimize or Postpone Driving During Winter Weather Events
GEMA’s Ready Georgia Campaign offers tips during Winter Weather Preparedness Week
(ATLANTA) –During Winter Weather Preparedness Week Dec. 1 – 5, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security’s (GEMA) Ready Georgia campaign reminds Georgians about the importance of avoiding driving during inclement weather, and also provides tips on being prepared in case they must travel.
“Being prepared and staying informed about bad driving conditions are the first steps in avoiding potentially life-threatening situations,” said GEMA Director Charley English. “While it is not recommended to drive during severe winter weather, it’s important that you know what to do in case you must get on the road or if you get caught in bad weather unexpectedly.”
For those that must drive, GEMA’s Ready Georgia campaign offers these tips:
If you must drive:
- Maintain at least a half tank of gas during the winter season.
- Keep an extra Ready kit in the trunk of your car. In addition to the basic essentials, consider adding a portable cell phone charger, ice scraper, extra blanket, sand for traction and jumper cables.
- Follow directions from local officials about driving during snow and ice storms, and drive with caution.
- SLOW DOWN to at least half your normal speed and use a low gear as you drive.
- Don’t stop when going up a hill. Build some momentum on a flat roadway before you take on the hill.
- Do not use cruise control and avoid abrupt steering maneuvers.
- Be mindful of road crews working to clear the snow and ice from the roadway.
- Motorists should not pass a dump truck spreading the salt/gravel mixture, as gravel may bounce up and could break windshields. Follow at least 100 feet behind all vehicles.
- If you come to a traffic signal that is not working, treat it as a four-way stop.
- Beware of black ice, especially on bridges, overpasses and shady areas. Four-wheel-drive may help your vehicle get going in the slushy stuff, but it’s of no use when you’re trying to steer or safely stop on a slippery road surface.
- Watch for fallen trees or power lines.
- If at any point during your trip you feel that the weather is too bad to continue driving, simply stay put.
Stopped or Stalled?
- Remain in your vehicle where rescuers are most likely to find you. Do not set out on foot unless you can see a building close by where you know you can take shelter.
- Don’t idle for a long time with the windows up or in an enclosed space.
- Run the engine and heater about 10 minutes each hour to keep warm and to conserve your battery and gasoline. When the engine is running, open a downwind window slightly for ventilation and periodically clear snow from the exhaust pipe. This will protect you from possible carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Exercise to maintain body heat, but avoid overexertion.
The newest tool for all Georgia drivers is the recently upgraded Ready Georgia mobile app, which features geo-targeted severe weather alerts, a map of shelters during emergencies, maps of live traffic conditions and a mobile emergency supplies checklist.
On the Ready Georgia website (www.ready.ga.gov), Georgians can create a Ready profile and receive a tailored communications plan for the entire family that includes the specific amount of supplies to put in their Ready kits. The website also offers local emergency contact information and an online toolkit to help individuals and organizations localize Ready Georgia’s message. For those with functional needs, the website offers emergency preparedness videos in American Sign Language, informational documents in Braille, large-print versions of promotional flyers and written transcripts of all audio/visual materials.
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About Ready Georgia
Ready Georgia is a statewide campaign designed to educate and empower Georgians to prepare for and respond to natural disasters, pandemic outbreaks, potential terrorist attacks and other large-scale emergencies. The campaign is a project of the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) and provides a local dimension to Ready America, a broader national campaign. Ready Georgia aims to prepare citizens for maintaining self-sufficiency for at least 72 hours following an emergency, and uses an interactive Web site, online community toolkit, broadcast and print advertising and public awareness media messaging to reach its audiences. Ready Georgia is also on Facebook and YouTube.