Preparing for hazardous winter travel

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JEROME, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - Snow may be a pretty sight, but the trade-off is it makes for hazardous driving conditions for travelers.

It's important that you're prepared when you're traveling in case you get stranded.

"Just think, if you were stranded, what would you need to survive," said Diana Ochsner, disaster action team coordinator with the Red Cross.

The Red Cross reminds you to pack an emergency kit that includes necessities such as a first aid kit, blankets, snacks, water and kitty litter.

"It's good to have flares on board with you in case you do have an accident where you need to draw attention," said Ochsner. "Also, caution tape is good and you can tape that to your antenna and that's stating that you need help."

For those traveling through passes or in higher elevations, don't forget to bring chains.

"There's going to be a lot of places starting now that are going to be closed to traffic and there are going to be other places that's going to (require chains)," she said.

One thing to remember if you do get stranded: don't leave your vehicle to seek help.

"A lot of people have that instinct because they think that they know where they're going and they know it's not very far," she added. "But the truth of the matter is, is that it's easy to get lost. Especially if it's storming, finding directions can be difficult. You can actually get yourself in worse trouble."

With subfreezing temperatures, it doesn't take long for hypothermia to kick in.

"If you stay with your vehicle, you'll at least have some sort of shelter," she continued. "If your car is still in running condition, the rule of thumb is you can turn it on for ten minutes max every hour to get a little bit of heat."

It's advised to refrain from driving if you don't have to. For those that do travel this winter, the full list of things you may want to consider packing can be found on the Red Cross website.

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