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Lessons learned after snowy gridlock on I-95

I-95 shutdown.jpg
Posted at 5:57 PM, Jan 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-06 12:03:12-05

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Hundreds of drivers were stranded inside their cars along with their families on Interstate 95 this week. Some of those drivers were stuck in snow and ice for more than 24 hours.

Kevin Mendenhall and Mike Dugan were some of the lucky ones. They both drove from Florida to Pennsylvania in an RV.

“We are quite fortunate to have an RV and a trailer so we can sit here and relax,” Dugan described.

Mendenhall described the ordeal as “absolutely horrible.”

“I feel sorry for the people that’s been out there for 14 hours sitting in cars with nothing. Nothing. That’s terrible,” he recalled.

AAA Mid-Atlantic Spokesman Morgan Dean shared life-saving tips following the 50-mile backup.

“I hope it’s a wake-up call for people,” Dean said. “Some people said it was a hard lesson for them to learn — getting stuck like this and not having a lot with them.”

Dean showed CBS 6 his own emergency storm kit which he said serves two purposes: to get your car moving on the roads again and to protect yourself if you’re stuck.

“You want to have jumper cables, a scraper, a small snow shovel and you want to have kitty litter or sand,” Dean stated. “That’s for traction if you’re stuck in the snow.”

Dean’s kit also includes a blanket, an extra coat, hat and gloves. He packed de-icing materials and reflective triangles for what he describes as the worst-case scenario.

“That's what we need to prepare for. Prepare for the worst but hope for the best. A lot of times people go out and think it’s going to be a 20-minute ride. When you get stuck in a winter storm it suddenly becomes two hours, it becomes eight hours, and it becomes more,” Dean said.

These stranded drivers learned a hard lesson but warn others to prepare not before it’s too late.

“All of these things can help you be safe on the road and weather whatever Mother Nature throws your way,” Dean said.