NewsLocal NewsIn Your NeighborhoodGreen Bay


You’re in a ditch, what do you do?

Posted at 5:28 PM, Jan 03, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-03 18:28:16-05

GREEN BAY (NBC 26) — “In Wisconsin, we typically have not-so-great weather this time of year,” says State Patrol Sargent Ben Wyant.

Icy roads can lead to more drivers in ditches and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation Safety Engineer Mason Simmons agrees.

“It's going to be those slides off, those running into concrete barriers or running off into ditches,” said Simmions.

But, if you do end up in a ditch, what do you do?

WisDOT offers some do's and don't if you experience a vehicle breakdown or slide off the road.

  • Stay calm. It’s generally safest to stay buckled up inside your vehicle. Along with protecting you from the elements, your vehicle offers protection should other vehicles slide out of control. Getting out of your vehicle and walking near a highway is dangerous any time of year.
  • Call 911 and be ready to describe your location and situation. Follow any instructions. You may be told to stay where you are until help arrives.
  • Resist the urge to get out of your vehicle and shovel or push your vehicle free. Overexertion can greatly complicate your situation, and being outside your vehicle exposes you to dangers.
  • If necessary to stay warm, run your vehicle’s engine for brief periods (make sure the exhaust system is working properly and not blocked by snow). Using portable heaters inside vehicles or other enclosed spaces can be dangerous.
  • Keeping your dome light on during low-light conditions can make it easier for rescue crews to find you. Remember, the storm will end. You will be found.

It's also important to be prepared if you are stranded.

“Some things to keep in your car, especially at this time you want a winter brush to brush off your car, you want some blankets, a towel even anything to keep you warm, water some nonperishable foods another good thing to have is a flashlight and batteries as well as a portable charger to keep your phone charged so you can call the police and let people know what's going on, ” said Simmons.

Because in any situation when you're stranded, it's better to be prepared.