blizzard travel

stoatphoto / Shutterstock, Inc.

The Risks of Traveling During a Blizzard

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If you have to travel during windy snow, prepare yourself accordingly and beware potential risks
blizzard travel

stoatphoto / Shutterstock, Inc.

Being outside during a blizzard can be dangerous.

With high winds, low visibility, and heavy snowfall, blizzards can be very dangerous for travelers. During the blizzard of 2016, 38 people died from causes such as carbon monoxide poisoning, heart attacks from shoveling snow, and falling trees knocked over onto their vehicles by wind. Although not all deaths were travel-related, there were definitely risks to venturing out during a blizzard. Be cautious of these things:

Frostbite

If you live in a city where walking is common, traveling outdoors for extended periods of time creates a risk for frostbite. It can occur in less than 30 minutes depending on the wind chill and temperature, so if you must leave your house, make sure to bundle up and keep all your extremities warm.

Click here for a cold weather survival guide.

Heavy Snow

Not only can heavy snow be dangerous to shovel, which can cause heart attacks, but it is also dangerous for drivers. The weight of the snow can bring down power lines, roofs, and trees, thereby stranding vehicles on the road. If you have to drive, make sure your exhaust pipe is clear, your tank is full, and that your windshield wipers and tires are in good condition.

Click here for beautiful snowbound restaurants.

Wind

High winds can lower visibility when traveling by blowing around snow, making it hard to see when driving and creating dangerous road conditions. Winds can also create health issues if you’re outside by speeding up the rate at which your body loses heat in the cold temperatures, making it easier to get frostbite or hypothermia.

For the best food safety tips during a blizzard, click here.

Ice

One of the most dangerous conditions for traveling during a blizzard is black ice. It’s hard to see when driving and can create a recipe for disaster. The most common time to experience black ice on the road is in the evening or at night when temperatures are cooler, so be extra cautious when traveling during that time of day. Remember: Counterintuitive though it may be, if you find your car sliding sideways on the ice, steer into the direction you’re sliding, not away from it.

Related

Click here for our story about the pizza delivery man who delivered food to a stranded driver during a snowstorm.