What was the most dangerous thing happening according to police calls today in Sheboygan city and county?

Hint! Today was the first snowy day this winter. During the last 7 hours the sirens have sounded for  50 plus snow related accidents.

One of the first principles we teach in survival training is: the Color Codes of Awareness. Normally driving is code yellow. Today it was Orange. Learning how to adjust according to situations can save injuries, money, and  lives. 

Some tips for Code Orange snow/sleet driving:

  • Change mind set to it is dangerous today. My mission is different. i.e. Not just get to work but get to work being aware of the dangers of slippery roads. (Being in a hurry and not taking extra time and precautions is always dangerous but understand this new mission is much more dangers.)
  • Have a plan if someone starts sliding in front of you.
  • Drive slower so you have more time to react.
  • As much as possible stay away from other cars.
  • Best of all if possible (I know you've heard it many times but to increase your odds of survival) don't drive in code Orange conditions.

The shown tweets are from a local Sheboygan stringer showing todays emergency calls. If you want to keep up with Sheboygan  emergency calls during the day from 7am to 10:30pm you can follow "Sheboygan Scanner" at either www.twitter.com/sheboyganscan or www.facebook.com/pages/Sheboygan-Scanner/123820854353177

The stringer for night time incidents is "Sheboygan Night Scanner" at Twitter.com/shebnightscan or on FaceBook at Facebook.com/sheboygannightscanner

    Winter driving

    Winter is a beautiful time of the year, especially when a fresh layer of new snow covers everything but for the un-alert or un-prepared winter can also be a very dangerous time of the year. If you plan on traveling during the winter, it pays to be prepared for the unexpected. Getting stranded during a winter storm can be a matter of life and death.

    Simply following a few simple driving habits like planning ahead, driving at a safe and legal speed, driving alert and sober and buckling up could insure that you make it to your destination safely.

  • Clear snow and ice from all windows and lights - even the hood and roof - before driving.
  • Pay attention. Don't try to out-drive the conditions. Remember the posted speed limits are for dry pavement.
  • Leave plenty of room for stopping.
  • Leave room for maintenance vehicles and plows. The law requires you to slow down or move over when approaching emergency or maintenance vehicles, including snowplows, parked on the side of the road when they have their flashing lights turned on. If you approach a parked emergency or maintenance vehicle during a winter storm and decide to change lanes be extra careful. The passing lane may be in worse shape than the driving lane. There may also be a snow ridge between the two lanes. Avoid making an abrupt lane change. If approaching a snowplow, stay back at least 200 feet (it's the law!), and don't pass on the right.
  • Know the current road conditions. In Wisconsin call 511 or log onto the winter road conditions report Web page.
  • Use brakes carefully. Brake early. Brake correctly. It takes more time and distance to stop in adverse conditions.
  • Watch for slippery bridge decks, even when the rest of the pavement is in good condition. Bridge decks will ice up sooner than the adjacent pavement.
  • Don't use your cruise control in wintry conditions. Even roads that appear clear can have sudden slippery spots and the short touch of your brakes to deactivate the cruise control feature can cause you to lose control of your vehicle.
  • Don't get overconfident in your 4x4 vehicle. Remember that your four-wheel drive vehicle may help you get going quicker than other vehicles but it won't help you stop any faster. Many 4x4 vehicles are heavier than passenger vehicles and actually may take longer to stop. Don't get overconfident in your 4x4 vehicle's traction. Your 4x4 can lose traction as quickly as a two-wheel drive vehicle.
  • Do not pump anti-lock brakes. If your car is equipped with anti-lock brakes, do not pump brakes in attempting to stop. The right way is to "stomp and steer!"
  • Look farther ahead in traffic than you normally do. Actions by cars and trucks will alert you quicker to problems and give you a split-second extra time to react safely.
  • Remember that trucks are heavier than cars. Trucks take longer to safely respond and come to a complete stop, so avoid cutting quickly in front of them.
  • Go slow!

If you must use your car during a storm:

  • Plan your travel, selecting both primary and alternate routes.
  • Let someone know your travel routes and itinerary so that, if you don't arrive on time, officials will know where to search for you.
  • Check latest weather information on your radio.
  • Try not to travel alone - two or three people are preferable.
  • Travel in convoy (with another vehicle) if possible.
  • Drive carefully and defensively. Watch for ice patches on bridges and overpasses.
  • Take note of your odometer and coordinate it with exit numbers, mileposts, or crossroads so if you are in a crash or slide off the road you'll better be able to identify where you are and summon law enforcement officers, rescue workers, or tow truck operators more quickly to your location.
  • If a storm begins to be too much for you to handle, seek refuge immediately.
  • If your car should become disabled, stay with the vehicle, running your engine and heater for short intervals. Be sure to "crack" a window in the vehicle to avoid carbon monoxide build-up.

Be courteous to those awaiting your arrival:

  • Call ahead to your destination just as you are leaving.
  • Let someone at your destination know the license number of your vehicle, what route you'll be traveling, and give a realistic estimate of your travel time.
  • If you have a cell phone, give that number to the party at your destination.
  • If you have friends or family at your place of origin, you should call when you arrive to let them know you have arrived safely.
  • If road conditions, tiredness, etc. delay or postpone a trip, make a phone call. Let people on both ends know of the delay.

Coffee can survival kit for winter driving

You easily can equip your vehicle with essential survival gear for winter. Here's what you'll need:

  • A 2 or 3 pound metal coffee can (punch 3 holes at the top of can, equal distance apart). You'll be storing the other items inside the can.
  • 60-inch length of twine or heavy string (cut into 3 equal pieces - used to suspend can).
  • 3 large safety pins (tie string to safety pins and pin to car roof interior to suspend can over candle).
  • 1 candle 2" diameter (place on lid under suspended can for melting snow).
  • 1 pocket knife, reasonably sharp (or substitute with scissors).
  • 3 pieces of bright cloth 2" wide x 36" long (tie to antenna or door handle).
  • Several packets of soup, hot chocolate, tea, bouillon cubes, etc. (mixed into melted snow to provide warmth and nutrition).
  • Plastic spoon.
  • 1 small package of peanuts and/or a couple protein/energy bars, some dried fruit (such as dried cranberries, which come in nicely sealed snack packs), and even a little chocolate, to provide you with some energy or comfort in stressful times.
  • 1 pair of socks and 1 pair of gloves or glove liners, depending on what will fit in the can (cotton is not recommended because it provides no insulation when wet).
  • 2 packages of book matches.
  • 1 sun shield blanket or 2 large green or black plastic leaf bags (to reflect body heat).
  • 1 pen light and batteries (keep separate).

When complete, place stocking cap over kit and carry in passenger compartment of car. If you have a 3 pound can, you will still have additional room for band-aids, aspirin, small radio, etc. If there is still room left, increase the quantity of any of the above items or improvise items you feel might be necessary.

Other items you may want to keep in the vehicle:

  • A charged cell phone.
  • Large plastic garbage bag.
  • Pencil stub and paper.
  • Plastic whistle.

You may want to keep the survival kit in the passenger compartment in case you go into a ditch and can't get to or open the trunk.

Always fill the gasoline tank before entering open country, even for a short distance, and stop to fill-up long before the tank begins to run low. Keeping your tank as full as possible will minimize condensation, providing the maximum advantage in case of trouble.

A Citizens Band (CB) radio and/or cellular phone can be very useful to you or another stranded motorist in case of an emergency.

  • Clear all windows and lights of frost and snow.
  • Drive with your headlights on.
  • Stock your car with basic winter driving equipment: A scraper and brush, small shovel, jumper cables, tow chain and a bag of sand or cat litter for tire traction.
  • Also include road flares, a blanket, heavy boots, warm clothing, and flashlight with batteries.
  • Remember to reverse the batteries in the case to avoid accidental switching, and burnout. Warm the batteries between your legs before using them.

In case you're stranded while driving in winter

  • Stay in your vehicle. Walking in a storm can be very dangerous. You can lose your way, wander out of reach, become exhausted, collapse and risk your life. Your vehicle itself is a good shelter.
  • Avoid overexertion. Attempting to push your car, trying to jack it into a new position or shoveling snow takes great effort in storm conditions. You could risk heart attack or other injury.
  • Calm down and think. The storm will end and you will be found. Don't work enough to get hot and sweaty. Wet clothing loses insulation quality making you more susceptible to the effects of hypothermia.
  • Keep fresh air in your vehicle. It is much better to be chilly or cold and awake than to become comfortably warm and slip into unconsciousness. Freezing-wet or wind-driven snow can plug your vehicle's exhaust system causing deadly carbon monoxide gas to enter your vehicle.
  • Don't run the engine unless you are certain the exhaust pipe is free of snow or other objects. Keep the radiator free from snow to prevent the engine from overheating.
  • Keep your blood circulating freely by loosening tight clothing, changing positions frequently and moving your arms and legs. Huddle close to one another. Rub your hands together or put them under your armpits or between your legs. Remove your shoes occasionally and rub your feet.
  • Don't expect to be comfortable. The challenge is to survive until you're found.

If you have access to a telephone, you should dial 911 to summon help. In other states you may be able to dial 911 or "0" to get the operator on the line. When you talk with authorities, be prepared to:

  • Describe the location, condition of your companions and the trouble you are experiencing.
  • Listen for questions.
  • Follow any instructions. You may be told you should stay where you are to guide rescuers or to return to the scene.
  • Do not hang up until you know who you have spoken with and what will happen next.

Effects of cold weather when driving

A crash or other severe weather situation can occur at any time. And it could be deadly in more ways than one.


Exposed skin can freeze within one minute at wind-chill equivalent temperatures below -25 Fahrenheit.

  • Frostbite affects the extremities, such as fingers and toes.
  • If a body part has been frostbitten once, it is more susceptible to frostbite again, even in milder conditions.
  • Redness and a burning sensation are indications frostbite will occur unless the extremity is warmed.
  • Numbness is an indication that frostbite has already taken place.
  • If frostbite is discovered, hold the affected part tightly against the warm skin or another part of the body (for example, place frozen fingers under arm).
  • When thoroughly warmed, keep covered and make an effort to keep area from freezing again.


Under conditions of prolonged exposure to cold, hypothermia begins to develop when the body begins to lose heat faster than it can produce it. Symptoms become very apparent and include:

  • Uncontrollable shivering
  • Vague, slow, slurred speech
  • Memory lapses
  • Incoherence
  • Immobile, fumbling hands
  • Frequent stumbling
  • Lurching gait
  • Drowsiness
  • Apparent exhaustion

Hypothermia can happen to anyone! If you believe you are experiencing these symptoms, it is important that you make every effort to stay dry and get warm. If wet, remove wet clothing and get into warm, dry clothes, blankets or a sleeping bag. Stay awake and alert.

If a hypothermia victim loses consciousness, seek medical attention immediately.

AuthorJohn Johnston