By HDN Staff
Once again winter has tightened it's frosty grip on the Hi-Line, and we at the Daily News would like to take this time to remind everyone to be cautious and be prepared to brave another harsh Montana winter.
We care about our community, and all too often winter driving conditions and subzero temperatures end up seriously injuring and sometimes even taking the lives of those close to us.
Especially with the holiday season approaching, winter travel becomes inevitable. Icy roads and blowing winds, combined with sudden winter storms and changing weather conditions can leave travelers in peril. It is for this reason that we are offering the following suggestions for safe winter traveling, as found on wintermt.com:
Check forecasts and road conditions before traveling
Be in good physical condition, alert, and ready to drive before leaving
Pack enough extra clothing, food and gear for a possible overnight stay
Always let someone know where you're going and when you intend to return
If possible, travel in groups, especially if you're planning on winter recreation activities such as hiking, snowmobiling or skiing
Turn back if the weather looks bad; always consider what is more important, your destination or your well-being
Remember that when it comes to winter temperatures, windchill plays a major role in the potential for hypothermia. If you become stranded, wind can be a deadly enemy because of its cooling effect on already cold temperatures.
The threat for hypothermia increases as the temperature decreases. Hypothermia is a loss of body temperature caused by exposure to cold and aggravated by moisture, wind and exhaustion. If steps are not taken to raise a victim's body temperature, mental and physical collapse will result. To avoid hypothermaia, stay dry. Insulate your body against cold, wet weather by wearing wool or fleece pile and waterproof clothing.
A winter survival kit for your automobile is a neccessity when traveling Montana's cold, icy roads. A good survival kit should include a flashlight, extra water and food, extra clothing, a pocket knife, matches and/or a lighter, candles, a first aid kit, emergency flares, extra batteries, a transistor radio, sand, a basic tool kit and extra fluids for your car.
We encourage everyone in the community to take extra caution during these cold winter months. Be courteous to other drivers, never leave the house unprepared, and stay safe. For more information on winter survival, check out the Montana Department of Transportation's Winter Survival Guide.