Living in West Michigan we know all too well about lake effect snow.

Sometimes we get a light dusting, other times we get hammered with the fluffy white stuff.

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Recently hundreds of people in Virginia found themselves stranded on the I-95 highway for more than 24 hours because of a winter snowstorm and an accident that blocked most of the highway.

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A 50 mile stretch of I-95 had to be shutdown

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Getty Images
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Many motorists ran out of gas while trying to stay warm in their cars

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Getty Images
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People knew the snowstorm was coming but were still caught off guard and stranded

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Getty Images
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Finally, after 24 hours, snowplows were able to clear a path and help everyone

This same type of situation can easily happen right here in West Michigan. That's why it's so important to not only plan ahead but also be prepared in case you find yourself in a similar situation.

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The American Red Cross has some great information that can keep you safe if you ever find yourself stuck and waiting for help.

Here's what to do if you get stranded in the snow

1. Stay in the vehicle and wait for help. Do not leave the vehicle to search for assistance unless help is visible within 100 yards. You can quickly become disoriented and confused in blowing snow.

2. Display a trouble sign to indicate you need help. Hang a brightly colored cloth (preferably red) on the radio antenna and raise the hood after snow stops falling.

3. Run the engine occasionally to keep warm. Turn on the engine for about 10 minutes each hour (or five minutes every half hour). Running the engine for only short periods reduces the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and conserves fuel. Use the heater while the engine is running. Keep the exhaust pipe clear of snow, and slightly open a downwind window for ventilation.

4. Leave the overhead light on when the engine is running so that you can be seen.

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redcross.org
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