When temperatures fall to these levels even a quick trip in the car can be dangerous if you aren't prepared. 13 News Reporter Rebecca Klopf takes us through what you should do if you end up in trouble with your car.
"So you've skidded off the road and now you are in a ditch. The choices you make next can mean the difference between life and death when it is this dangerously cold," says Rebecca Klopf.
"First thing that you do, stay in the car," says Lt. Chuck Meyers.
He is in charge of Winnebago's Citizens Emergency Response Team or CERT. He says the next step is to immediately put on your car's emergency flashers and call 9-1-1. Do not go for help even though it might not seem far away.
"Right before we drive off the road we remember a gas station but even if you slowed down while driving that can be a very long walk back to a location that you think was just a half mile down the road," says Lt. Meyers.
The cold can be disorienting. Hypothermia sets in when your body temp drops below 95 degrees. That can cause things slurred speech, exhaustion and confusion.
"The cold air that you are going to be breathing is going to make you not make the right decision that you were planning on making in the car," says Lt. Meyers.
Focus on keeping yourself warm. Keep extra coats and winter gear in your car enough for you and your entire family. Lt. Meyers says during the blizzard of 2011 he did a lot of rescues where people went out onto Winnebago County roads very unprepared.
"Sometimes you'd come across a family van with all the individuals in there, middle of winter and people are standing there with shorts and sandals. While you are driving in these situations you may think you are just going from here to there," says Lt. Meyers.
He also recommends drive with a full tank of gas so you can keep your car running- just make sure the exhaust is clear of snow so that you do not give yourself CO poisoning.
If someone other than an emergency responder rescues you but your car is still there, Lt. Meyers says leave a note for police with what happened and a contact number so they know you are safe and not still out in the cold.
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