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If you can’t stay in, keep safe says AMR

Jackson, Miss–Paramedics at American Medical Response (AMR) have issued advice to prevent falls on ice and getting hit by vehicles when traveling in icy conditions.

If you’re having to walk to the store or take the dog out, AMR had a few tips to stay safe on your stroll.

“Wear shoes or boots that fit well and have good non-slip tread.  Watch the path ahead,” said Jim Pollard with AMR.  “Bend your knees a little and slow down.Wear gloves or mittens so you don’t have to put your hands in your pockets.”

Other AMR tips for pedestrians include:

  • If your hands are out of your pockets, you can use your arms to balance yourself and, if needed, to soften a fall.
  • Hold onto railings and stable objects, particularly when going up or down stairs.If at all possible, don’t step out on stairs or steps before clearing them of ice.
  • Don’t carry more than you can handle easily.  Heavy loads can impair your balance.
  • If you must walk in the road, walk facing the traffic and walk close to the curb.Wear bright clothing so drivers can easily see you.
  • Ice can prevent cars from stopping at stop signs and traffic lights.  Before stepping into the street, make sure all approaching vehicles have in fact stopped.Ear muffs, hats and scarves can make it hard to hear nearby vehicles.
  • Stay warm AND alert.

And while the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency has warned folks to limit their travel this weekend, some just have to get out. Still, safety should be the top concern.

“If you don’t have to drive, please stay at home.  Ask yourself, “Am I skilled at driving on icy roads,” said Pollard.  “If you’re not, stay at home.”

If you must drive, keep these things in mind:

  • If you must drive, slow down well below speed limits.  Give yourself extra time to reach your destination.
  • Allow more space between you and other vehicles.
  • Seeing well and being seen are crucial to avoiding crashes.  Before starting your trip, remove all ice and snow from your car’s windshields, windows, mirrors, headlights and tail-lights.  Defog your windshields thoroughly.  Turn on your low-beam lights.
  • Be sure your tires, brakes, battery, windshield wipers and other safety gear are good for icy driving on ice or snow.  Don’t let your fuel run low.
  • Drive on interstates and divided four-lane roads when possible.  Two-way traffic leads to more head-on collisions.   
  • When driving on ice and snow, brake only if you must.  Do not “pump” anti-lock brakes.  Just step on the pedal once, slowly, gradually, and steadily.  With conventional brakes, gently pump the brake pedal with your heel on the floorboard and your toe on the pedal.
  • Slow down before you cross bridges and patches of ice and before you go down hills.  Some ice is invisible.  It’s called “black ice” because it looks as though the pavement ahead is normal.
  • If you skid, take your foot off the gas pedal and shift quickly into neutral.  Turn your steering wheel in the direction the rear wheels are skidding.  For example, if the tail of your vehicle starts to skid to your right, turn your steering wheel to the right until the vehicle straightens out.  Shift back into drive and gently accelerate.
  • If you crash, pull all the way off the road.  Turn your flashers on.  Get out on the passenger side, because there is greater risk of other drivers skidding into the driver side.  Stand on the passenger side.
  • No matter how short the trip, buckle up everyone in your vehicle.
  • Dress warmly, in case of a breakdown or a crash.
  • In your trunk, carry a couple of burlap bags or short wooden planks and a shovel to help with traction if you get stuck.
  • Put in some pop-top canned food or other food that’s easy to open and extra clothing.
  • Be sure your cell phone has a good charge.

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