What to do when you're stranded in your car in a snowstorm

What to do when you’re stranded in your car in a snowstorm

Pak News

People stand next to cars stuck under fallen trees on a snowy road, in Murree, northeast of Islamabad, Pakistan in this still image taken from a video January 8, 2022. — Reuters
  • IG Imam Ghani advises people to “open a window slightly and clear snow away from the exhaust silencer pipe”.
  • Says carbon monoxide is odourless, very hard to detect, and can lead to death very quickly.
  • Asks people to not travel to Murree during heavy snowfall.

Inspector General (IG) National Highways and Motorways Police Inam Ghani on Saturday issued an advisory on what people should do if they are stranded in their cars in heavy snowfall.

Ghani warned people that carbon monoxide is odourless, very hard to detect, and can quickly cause death.

His words of caution come after at least 21 people died from likely carbon monoxide poisoning in Murree after “unprecedented snowfall”.

SHO Murree Police Station Raja Rasheed said four to four-and-a-half feet of snowfall was recorded in Murree.

He said that most of the people who died did not die due to the cold, but because they left their heaters on in the car and went to sleep.

“The fumes from the heater killed them,” he said, referring to the fumes which found no exit due to silencers buried underneath snow and were breathed in by people.

Ghani advised citizens to “open a window slightly and clear the snow away from the exhaust silencer pipe”. 

Similar instructions in Urdu were tweeted by the National Highways & Motorway Police (NHMP).

Ghani also asked the citizens to not travel to Murree amid heavy snowfall.

“Please don’t travel to Murree! Snowfall has started again,” he wrote in the afternoon.

He said that NHMP officers and the National Highway Authority are working on clearing the Murree Expressway, while warning of “congestion in Murree and on expressway”.

“People in the hotels for the night have come out on the roads. New vehicles are not being allowed to go to Murree,” he added.

The provincial government has declared Murree a calamity-hit area after more than 20 tourists died in their vehicles today amid heavy snowfall. 

Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed confirmed the death toll, saying the government has sought help from Pakistan Army and other civil-armed forces to rescue the stranded tourists.

According to the local administration, rain and blizzards are forecast tonight in and around Murree, with thunderstorms at a speed of 50-90 kmph and heavy snowfall.

The administration has warned the citizens not to leave their homes in severe weather or turn to Murree as severe weather conditions are likely to continue till late at night.

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