In case you haven’t heard - stay off the roads

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Thanks to a record-breaking snowstorm in Western New York, a travel ban has been in effect for Erie county since Friday morning, which was soon followed by a ban on all traffic on the New York State Thruway from Rochester to Niagara Falls. However, some stubborn Buffalo residents did not heed the warning to stay home and subsequently got their vehicles stuck in the blizzard conditions. 

In a winter storm update, Erie County Executive Mark Polancarz addressed Western New Yorkers, reiterating the message to stay home.

He revealed several emergency crews are currently challenged with rescuing stranded drivers who did not adhere to the travel ban and are now stuck in their vehicles while the storm rages on- and could possibly be there for hours until aid arrives.

If you or a loved one is one of the unlucky travelers currently stuck, here is exactly what to do until help can get there.

1. Stay in your vehicle

Buffalo is experiencing extremely low visibility with this storm, and if you get out of your car, you could become disoriented quickly. Or - even worse - you could be struck by another vehicle that can’t see you. The safest place to be is inside your car. 

2. Put your flashers on

This will make emergency responders easier to spot you in heavy snowfall. 

3. Run your engine car at least 10 minutes every hour

The freezing temperatures mean hypothermia is a real risk when you’re trapped in your vehicle. You want to run the engine for at least 10 minutes every hour to keep the heat flowing, but not often enough that you could potentially run out of gas. 

4. Open your window a crack and clear out your tailpipe

This is to avoid potential carbon monoxide poisoning while your car is running. 

It is of the utmost importance to listen to the warnings and not go anywhere until roads open back up and the travel ban is lifted. However, if you or someone you know are one of the unlucky ones stuck, stay calm and follow the above tips to potentially save your/their life.

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