This week an arctic cold has been gripping the Midwest and the Northeast is experiencing bitterly cold temperatures, too. A polar vortex is triggering the coldest arctic outbreak in at least two decades, according to The Weather Channel.
Frigid conditions can bring snow and wind, which can sometimes lead to whiteout conditions on the road. Whiteouts are particularly dangerous and have been known to lead to catastrophic pileups of dozens of cars.
Now is a good time to remind your drivers how to prepare and what to do if they find themselves behind the wheel when a whiteout suddenly strikes.
The Weather Channel and other experts offer the following advice:
Prepare Your Vehicle
Make sure your vehicle is equipped with premium windshield wipers, a window wash system full of fluid, a set of fog lights, and quality snow tires. All of these elements will help keep you safe in wintry weather, and especially during whiteout conditions.
Drive With Low Beams or Fog Lights
They help with visibility by cutting down on bounce back from ice particles in the air. Fog lights are generally lower to the ground and it's easier to see the road when lights are pointed to the ground in front of you.
Find an Exit or Parking Lot
When a whiteout strikes, simply pulling off to the side of the road is dangerous. After all, if you can't see the other cars on the road, they can't see yours. It's best to get off the road altogether and park safely in a lot or gas station until you regain visibility.
Avoid Changing Lanes or Passing Other Vehicles
With reduced visibility, any sudden moves can lead to a collision.
Keep in mind that with the loss of visual cues, it's easy to speed up without realizing it.
Keep Windows and Mirrors Clean and Clear
This is where your window-wash system and wipers come into play. Use them to de-ice your windshield and maximize your visibility as best as possible under very challenging circumstances.