With the recent polar vortex that ripped through the country, we thought it would be helpful to share some tips for you: the nurses and allied health caregivers who can’t just call-off, pull the blankets over your head, and have a snow day.
Here are five ways to stay safe if you have to drive in winter weather:
- Know the weather and plan accordingly – Keep an eye on the forecast so you are aware of future conditions and what you will need to plan for. If the weather is bad, make sure to depart early and leave ample time to get to work safely. It’s better to get a coffee and kill fifteen minutes before a shift than have to rush and never arrive because of an accident.
- Charge your phone – The last thing you want is to be stranded on the side of the road with a dead cell phone. If you’re working a day shift, you might get lucky and have a Good Samaritan stop to help, but if you’re working a night shift in a rural area, there’s a good chance you might be stranded for a while. Play it safe and take the time to charge your phone before going out in terrible weather.
- Pack accordingly – If you know you have to drive in inclement weather, plan for the worst and pack your vehicle with an emergency kit. Some essential items to have are:
- Additional warm clothing including a hat, gloves, and socks
- Hand/foot warmers
- Jumper cables
- First-aid kit
- Small shovel
- Non-perishable, high-calorie food
- Tool kit
- Kitty litter or sand
- Eyes on the road, hands on the wheel – Distracted driving is dangerous under the best conditions. Throw snow and ice into the mix, and you’re just asking for an accident. Make sure to stow the phone and food, keep your hands at ten and two, and pay extra attention to everything going on around you.
- Ask for help – Worried that your small car might not make it? Nervous about driving in bad weather? Take public transportation. Ask a friend who has a truck, a kind heart, and nerves of steel to give you a ride. You can call your nurse manager and see if they can help with housing the night before a shift. There are many options, just make sure to plan ahead and don’t wait until the last minute.
This time of year, severe weather is always just around the corner, and we want to make sure that you’re safe on your way to care for others. Stay warm, stay smart, and stay safe.