Sunday, May 02, 2004

How about a Weather Protocol? 

CNN.com - Flash floods kill at least six in Texas - May 1, 2004 This is a painful story to read.
I wonder how many people die every year just because they are driving in bad weather? Coming from a part of the country where people die every winter when their cars break down in the cold, it seems to me that the only type of "weather warning" I ever hear about for drivers is when visibility is down to nothing -- ie, that a snowstorm is so bad that RCMP are advising people not to drive. I think we need a broader effort here -- some kind of alert system or set protocol for drivers to follow when they are caught in some kinds of weather. I've seen some advisory stuff for drivers caught by a tornado -- get into a culvert, for example -- but I haven't heard any other protocols for other bad weather situations. I don't know anything about flash floods, but maybe in Texas the protocol would be that during a storm drivers should stop at a high ground location and stay there, and that police or highway workers should patrol these areas to transport these stranded drivers to the nearest motel or school. Here, maybe we should have a procedure that tells people to cancel non-essential evening or night trips when its below, say, 35 below unless they are driving with a "buddy" car, and asks farmers to leave their yard lights on and their porch doors unlocked during such conditions.
My sister could have died one December night when her car ran out of gas, just a few miles from the city -- the first farm she walked to was locked up tight, nobody home; thank god there was someone home at the second farm, because she wouldn't have made it to the third.

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