As I write this post, according to Kentucky authorities, there are an estimated 3,000 vehicles stranded on I-75 buried in snow and have been there since the sun went down yesterday. It is now 9:25 AM. That means there are possibly 4,000 to 7,000 people stuck in their vehicles miles from the nearest shelter. That would include infants to the elderly, diabetes patients to the lone college student and over the road truckers trying to make it home. Some have their traveling pets with them. Just imagine the feeling of hopeless some of these folks are feeling. Most have no supplies of any sort. Emergency services have been overwhelmed by the snowy onslaught.
I saw one Skype video from a traveler in which she said “They are supposed to be bringing blankets and food, but we haven’t seen anything.” The infamous “they”. It speaks to our expectation and dependence upon the hand of government emergency response services, but as this event shows, those services can quickly become overwhelmed. That is why it is so important for us to be individually prepared to care for our families. You simply can’t expect the government to be there on the spot every time.
Let this be a lesson. Most of those who are stranded knew bad weather was approaching and if the interstate traffic had flowed as it normally does, most would have beat the weather. But two tractor trailers brought a highway designed to handle 70,000 vehicles per day to a stop. It could happen any time of year. So when you travel always keep an emergency bag of supplies in your vehicle. Every driver in my family has one and it contains a first aid kit, shelter items, matches, fuel tabs, mini-cook stove, long term food items, water purifying filter, knife, a Leatherman tool, flashlight, toilet paper, thermal bivvy, etc. This isn’t the complete list, but you get the idea. It takes up little space, but imagine finding yourself stranded on I-75 in two feet of snow. Don’t get caught off guard.