What do you do when you’re caught in a whiteout in Manitoba?
The horizon has disappeared and the landscape is completely distorted by snow.
It’s what happens when a driver is caught in a whiteout and blowing snow has reduced visibility to next to zero.
Do you know what to do?
While it might feel like it makes sense to slam on the brakes, CAA Manitoba said it’s key to stay calm and slow your acceleration, instead of coming to a complete stop.
“Slamming on your brakes, if there is someone behind you, you’re going to have an instant collision because it’s hard to predict behaviours people are going to have,” Liz Kulyk with CAA Manitoba said.
Instead she recommends immediately putting on your headlights and leaving as much space as possible between you and any vehicles.
“Typically when you’re having white out conditions slow accelerating and slow braking are two of those tips that will help you keep safe when you are driving,” Kulyk said.
And when you can, CAA recommends finding a safe spot to pull over.
“Getting over to the side of the road as far as possible, but still being safe, is the most important thing,” Kulyk said. “Because if someone coming from behind can’t see you, the chance there might be a collision is high.”
Once at the side of the road, CAA recommends trying to make the vehicle as visible as possible to passing cars, as along as it’s safe to exit the vehicle:
- Pop your hood
- Pop your trunk
- Travel with a bright cloth or bandanna and tie it to the antenna
If you plan to wait out the weather CAA said it’s fine to start the car every few minutes for warmth but make sure the exhaust pipe isn’t clogged by snow.
An exhaust pipe blocked by snow and idling can produce carbon monoxide poisoning inside the car leading to death.
If you’re worried, call 9-1-1 and wait for help.
Above all CAA said drivers should always travel with a roadside safety kit which should include a blanket, extra hat and gloves, tow rope, hand warmers, LED light, socket set, and cable ties.
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