What to do if you are stranded this winter

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — It’s a situation no one wants to be in, stranded on the side of the road in a snow storm. Whether it is because you slid off the road or because you pulled off because it became too dangerous, it important you are prepared this winter season.

“During winter storms it’s not unusual for us to see call volumes well over 100% above what we would see on the same day in another month,” says Nick Jarmusz, Director of Public Affairs for the Midwest Region of AAA.

Winter brings some of the most difficult driving conditions to the Midwest. According to AAA, in addition to crashes, maintenance calls for things such as dead batteries and slid offs increase. When it comes to slide-offs or run-offs, Fort Wayne Police say, it is only necessary to call them if there is damage.

“Runoffs are not what we would consider an accident, so you can call your own tow truck,” explains FWPD Spokeswoman, Sgt. Sofia Rosleas-Scatena, “As long as there is no damage to any kind of structure or signage or anything like that belonging to the city. That includes groundwork. As long as nothing like that has happened you can call your own tow truck or call a friend to come pull you out no problem.”

Sometimes the wait for assistance can take some time, whether tow trucks or police are too busy during a given event, or you are waiting for the weather to break. That is why it is important to have some supplies on standby in your vehicle. Things such as jumper cables, a reflective vest, extra clothes, and a shovel so you can try and dig yourself out if traffic isn’t a concern. If it is along a busy road, then the best place for you to be is in the vehicle and buckled up.

“The vehicle is going to be a safer place for you to be, not trying to walk through a storm to get help, not on the roadside trying to repair something yourself, says Jarmusz, “You really expose yourself to the elements, as well as expose yourself to other drivers.”

The most dangerous situations occur in snow bands with strong winds that limit visibility. When you see the weather starting to change and deteriorate, that’s when you have to step back and make a decision if it is a good time to be on the roads.

“As you see more ice and snow on the roads, you really need to start evaluating how important the trip you are making is and whether it can wait and is it really worth the risk, and the added risk of going out there,” describes Jarmusz.

Fort Wayne Police add that they understand circumstances may require you to leave a vehicle on the side of the road as long as it is not impeding traffic. They will give you 2 to 3 days to pick it up or else they will tow the vehicle.

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