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Tips on preparing for snowy travel

The District's Snow Team -- the Departments of Transportation and Public Works -- just put out some good advice for residents and travelers across the region in advance of the predicted snow storm.

One bit of advice from the Snow Team that I think should be in the forefront of your mind:
Since forecasts call for snowfall to begin Friday night, use the time before any snowfall begins wisely, getting any supplies they will need to remain indoors, including food and water, on Friday as the storm will likely begin by the time you awake Saturday morning.

-- Stay off the roads if possible during and immediately following the storm.
-- Give the snow plows plenty of room to do their jobs.
-- Have a designated driver. It's the holiday season, so be safe.
-- Keep a taxicab company's number nearby, just in case.

-- Make sure shovels and other snow removal equipment are in working order.
-- Spread salt and kitty litter before the snow begins. Shovel to keep walkways around your property clear of snow.
-- Know your neighbors, especially those who may need your assistance or who can assist you during or after a snow emergency. Use the time before a snow storm to develop a volunteer list to assist neighbors who are unable to shovel.
-- Stock up on batteries for flashlights, radios, battery-powered computer games, toys, lamps and lanterns.
-- Compile a list of family members' medications, as well as phone numbers for doctors, pharmacies and emergency rooms.

-- Put a 10-pound bag of cat litter, ice scraper, shovel, and blanket, flash light and emergency supplies in the vehicle.
-- Keep the gas tank at least half full. (I say splurge and fill it up.)
-- Buy new windshield wiper blades and winterize your car and tires. (If you don't have enough time for this, today, at least survey your car so you're aware of how it will handle the snow.
-- Keep mobile phones fully charged.
-- Identify alternate parking, either on or off-street, particularly if your street is a Snow Emergency Route.
-- If you must be on the road, drive slowly!

What are your own suggestions? Wait, wait. Don't tell me: Drive with your lights on and clear off the car before pulling away from your parking spot. (This is very good advice, which is why I hear it so often from travelers.)

By Robert Thomson  |  December 18, 2009; 11:07 AM ET
Categories:  Weather  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, travel tips  
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Next: Metro readies for winter storm; warns of delays


Jeez, it's a 12" snowstorm, not the apocolypse. Medications and pharmacy information? Really?

How about this - if you're not comfortable driving in the snow, DON'T DO IT. It will be safer for you and everyone else on the roads.

I cannot stress enough how important it is to clear off your car completely - particularly your head-and-brake lights.

Posted by: reiflame1 | December 18, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

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