Overall, most winter storm deaths result from vehicle or other transportation accidents caused by ice and snow. Residents should avoid driving when conditions include sleet, freezing rain or drizzle, snow, or dense fog. These are serious conditions that are often underestimated, and they make driving – and even walking outside – very hazardous.It is safer for everyone if you stay put – and not travel during inclement weather – whether you are at home, work or school.
By staying off the roads during the worst of the weather, local departments of transportation are more easily able to access roads that need treatment, snow plows can more freely clear roads and get to areas needing plowing and public safety officials can respond more quickly to residents in need of emergency services.
It may require employees to take a couple of hours of personal leave during the winter, but leaving early enough to avoid bad weather and traffic gridlock caused by slippery road conditions is worth the investment. Thinking strategically about your travel and where you really need to be will require some planning and thought.
“Get Where You Need to be Before the Weather Gets Bad”
Do NOT Travel During Winter Storms
- Curtail “elective” travel; avoid unnecessary travel. If it is not a life safety issue, stay off the roads.
- If you don’t have to travel… don’t! The safest place during a winter storm is indoors. About 70 percent of deaths related to ice and snow occur in automobiles.
- Stay at the office an extra hour, or leave early, to avoid travel during a winter storm.
- If residents stay off the roads during a storm, transportation workers and public safety officials are better able to clear roadways and respond to emergency needs quicker.
- Be prepared for the worst. Be ready to spend an extra hour at the office, or leave an hour or two early, to avoid a more time consuming commute home during the height of a storm.
- Have an emergency supply kit in your office and car.
- If local officials advise residents to stay off the roads – then stay off the roads.
- Public safety and emergency management officials, along with National Weather Service meteorologists, base travel advisories and guidance on weather forecasts. Heed their advice!
- Businesses that follow closing/delay policies from local jurisdictions or the federal Office of Personnel Management need to monitor those sources and release employees when advised.
- Listen to local Radio/TV weather forecasts; monitor social media.
- Sign up for text alerts from your local government.
- Sign up for weather alerts from NOAA/National Weather Service, including RSS feeds of your forecast and weather watches/warnings.
- Purchase a NOAA weather radio for your home and office. NOAA Weather Radio is the prime alerting and critical information delivery system of the National Weather Service (NWS). NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts warnings, watches, forecasts, and other hazard information 24 hours a day.
- If your child is safe at school, why risk a traffic accident during the worst weather to reach him/her, and then put all of you in danger? Let the school system implement their emergency plan, stay off the road and let transportation crews clear the roadways.
About the National Capital Region (NCR)
The National Capital Region (NCR) is not an operational entity because emergency response is a local function. Because the NCR is a collection of sovereign jurisdictions, including cities, counties, states and the
District of Columbia, this website and the efforts of the region's communicators and public information officers will focus on regional collaboration between the region’s homeland security partners to achieve a “safe and secure National Capital Region.”