Traveling Safely Across Arkansas And Beyond During Winter Weather

"Know the American Red Cross big three-Stay Informed. Have A Plan. Get A Kit, emergency kit that is."

When severe winter weather is forecast, the American Red Cross wants Arkansans to review preparations for the possibility of precipitation that may restrict travel, interrupt work, school and cause power outages.

This is the time to follow the Red Cross big three:

1. Stay Informed to your local weather forecasts,” stated American Red Cross in Arkansas Communications Officer Brigette Williams. The Christmas holidays of 2012 found tens of thousands of Arkansans without power last year. The hope by those impacted, is that 2013’s winter will not be as uncomfortable,

2. Make A Plan If you must travel when winter precipitation is falling, have a couple of alternate routes should roads become impassible.

Just as important is to stay aware of changing weather conditions. Access travel needs before you leave your home or workplace, as well as checking roads along your journey. The same applies to checking your airline before leaving for the airport.

Fill up your gas tank. Not only does it prevent gas lines from freezing, you’re prepared in the event of traffic standstills or detours.

Double check your work and school’s inclement weather policy. Another task is to update your child’s emergency contact list. This is important as many schools, including colleges and universities, notify parents/students of cancelations, delays or lock downs with ‘robo calls’, texts or emails.

3. Have An Emergency Kit Pack emergency supplies for the car, even if you’re traveling a short distance from one side of town to the other. “There nothing like being stuck on the road for hours because of an accident or needed detour with children and finding yourself without extra diapers, snacks and water,” stated Williams. “We have seen Arkansans stuck for more than 12 hours on Interstate 30 during ice storms. A trip that should have taken half an hour.

Emergency car kit supplies:

  • Blanket
  • Needed medications/supplies, i.e. asthma, diabetic needs or medications taken daily
  • Snacks—nuts, fruit
  • Bottled Water
  • Baby food/formula
  • Diapers
  • Click here for an emergency kit checklist.

    Additional travel tips include:

  • Avoid driving if possible when conditions include sleet, freezing rain or drizzle, snow or dense fog.
  • Take additional care when crossing bridges and overpasses that may have black ice that is difficult to see until you’re sliding or spinning out of control.
  • In addition to your GPS, keep a map or atlas for Arkansas and for other states you may be driving to.
  • Check the Arkansas Department of Highway & Transportation’s website or social media.
  • Keep a cell phone charger in your car. Make certain you have emergency numbers programmed.
  • Download American Red Cross First Aid. The First Aid app provides numerous safety tips including symptoms and treatment of hypothermia.
  • The American Red Cross Tornado app features live NOAA weather radio for all locations across the United States. The ‘Tool Box’ also features a flashlight, strobe light and emergency siren. You can also find preparedness tips for possible power outages experienced during severe weather.
  • Inform a friend of your time of departure, expected arrival time and route. Periodically give them a call to let them know how you’re progressing on your trip.
  • Check airlines directly for flight changes or delays before departing to the airport. It may be clear in the time you’re in, but major delays may be occurring in your flight’s connecting city.
  • For more tips visit redcross.org/arkansas; like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter@RedCrossArkansas