Staying Safe on the Roads this Winter

As drivers hit the road this winter, it's important to make sure they're prepared in the event they get stranded. An emergency medicine physician offers some safety tips.

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CLEVELAND – There have been a lot of stories in the news recently about major traffic back-ups on the highway, and in some cases, motorists were stranded for hours.

So, how can you keep yourself safe if that ever happens to you?

“It’s really important, when people go on car trips, especially in areas where there is inclement or cold weather, to make sure they have adequate material in their car,” advised Baruch Fertel, MD, emergency medicine physician for Cleveland Clinic.

Dr. Fertel said some helpful supplies to keep in your vehicle include water, non-perishable food, a blanket and warm clothing.

He said it’s also important to dress appropriately while driving. For example, if you’re traveling from the South to the North, where there is currently snow, you probably shouldn’t be wearing sandals. Especially if you have to exit the vehicle at some point. Dr. Fertel said that’s a quick way to get hypothermia.

Don’t forget to bring your medications, even if it is just a day trip. He has seen many situations where people have had to go to the hospital because they left theirs at home.

“I think those are things that I see very commonly, people coming to the emergency department because they left those at home. So, if you go on a trip, and it’s going to be a little longer than your run-of-the-mill trip, make sure you take your medications. Especially things like breathing inhalers and an EpiPen, if one has anaphylaxis,” said Dr. Fertel.

He said it’s also a good idea to keep an eye on your gas tank as you’re driving. The last thing you want is to run out gas in cold temperatures.

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