Blizzard conditions aren't uncommon to anyone who has been through a Saskatchewan winter. That's why, as a driver, it's important you know how to safely get through the worst Mother Nature has to offer.
Planning ahead is the best way to protect yourself during the winter months. Check the weather and road conditions before travelling, not only for your place of departure but also for your destination.
An excellent resource is the Saskatchewan Highway Hotline, which provides up-to-date road information for every corner of the province. The line can be reached toll free at 1-888-335-7623.
Prepare your vehicle
It's always safest to stay off the road when a blizzard is forecast. But when travel is absolutely necessary be sure to dress warmly and pack extra clothing and blankets. Check that your vehicle is in tip-top shape and ensure you have a full tank of gas.
Another essential for your vehicle is a roadside emergency kit. Put together and maintain a kit that has:
|a shovel||blankets||snow brush|
|first-aid kit||food||water cup|
Before you leave, it's also a good idea to contact someone at your destination to let them know when you expect to arrive.
During a blizzard
Unfortunately, taking precautions against blizzard conditions doesn't mean you can prevent them. If conditions deteriorate while you're on the road, stop at the nearest town or rest area and wait until it's safe to drive.
If you find yourself stranded with your vehicle:
- Remain inside your vehicle because it will offer you protection from the harsh winter elements.
- Run your engine sporadically to get some heat but be careful not to run out of gas. In that case, the blankets, candles and matches you packed in your roadside emergency kit will serve you well.
- When running your engine, ensure that your vehicle's exhaust pipe is clear of snow and ice. If it's plugged, fumes will seep into your vehicle, resulting in possible carbon monoxide poisoning.
- If you find you need fresh air, your best option is to slightly lower the windows facing opposite the wind direction and open your vehicle's heater vent.
Driving in a blizzard isn't high on anyone's to-do list but being prepared for it should be. By planning ahead and knowing how to react to a blizzard, you'll safely escape winter's wrath.
Saskatchewan Highway Hotline