What to do and what supplies to have when you’re stranded on the highway

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Marshall County, W.Va. (WTRF) – An orange and a Dr. Pepper.

That was all Senator Tim Kaine had as he spent 26 hours along I-95 between Virginia and Washington DC this week.

And while he may have been the highest-profile stranded driver, he was just one of hundreds who were trapped in what they called a ‘parking lot’ along the highway.

A lot of those folks were either on their way to work, coming home from work, or just making a short drive.

Tom Hart, Emergency Management Director for Marshall County

A helpless and panic-inducing situation—but one that Marshall County’s Emergency Management Director says many of us are familiar with.

He’s seen it before on the West Virginia turnpike before, when an accident and severe weather combine to create headaches for officials that layer on top of each other.

So what should we do?

If we find ourselves in a similarly terrifying situation, Hart says it’s pretty much as simple as keeping some chips, water or a flashlight in your trunk.

And with the temperatures dropping so suddenly, you’ll want to make a habit of stopping at the gas station more often.

If you’re going to be traveling a distance, it’s good to keep, especially in wintertime to keep a full tank of gas in your car, not let it get below half a tank.

Tom Hart, Emergency Management Director for Marshall County

The Ohio Valley doesn’t have the same packed, multi-lane highways as the DC corridor.

But the twisty roads around here have their own challenges, especially on the hilltops.

It’s a good idea to think before you get in your car about whether you’re driving locally or a distance—and if you’ll be on roads that are easy to get to if you need help.

If we get a quick 2-3 inches of snow, roadway conditions deteriorate quickly, and there has to be some time for the highway crews to be able to get out to put down salt and cinders and be able to plow the roadways.

Tom Hart, Emergency Management Director for Marshall County

Even after that holiday trip home, the I-95 disaster shows the toughest driving challenges of the season are still ahead.

But even icy roads are no match for a few survival supplies and a case of water.

If you’re driving in West Virginia this winter, you may not know they have a special crew to help with roadside issues.

It’s called the Courtesy Patrol, and they’re there to help you 24-7 with those common struggles like tires or dead batteries.

Their number is 1-800-964-1449.

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