Law enforcement officials offer tips to steer clear of danger

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - The Grant County Sheriff's Office confirms an 83-year-old woman died from exposure over the weekend when she left her car after an accident.
Law enforcement officers and medical professionals are giving a warning to drivers.
Last weekend temperatures dipped below zero.
And this upcoming weekend is going to be the same story. With snow on the way, road conditions could be dicey as people travel for the holidays.
All this makes it even more important to be safe.

Many South Dakota natives know an emergency kit becomes a necessity once the temps dip below zero.

“You're probably going to want fresh water, make sure that it's not frozen. Some kind of heater packets, hand and foot warmers,” Sergeant Jeff Barnable said.

But no matter how prepared a driver is, panic can set in when a person is stranded after a crash.

“If you get stranded immediately call 9-11. Let the responders know the general area where you are at,” Barnable said.

Barnable says anyone stuck in a snow bank should check to make sure the tail pipe isn't covered or blocked.

“If you’re running your heater and that tail pipe is blocked what that’s going to do, it's going to force the exhaust back into the vehicle and fill the vehicle with carbon monoxide,” he said.

Barnable says that if someone does find themselves stranded the safest place for them to stay is inside their vehicle.

“The biggest issue that we see is people, they get scared. They decide that they're going to walk to the nearest place for help. Makes it much more difficult for us to find them,” he said.

It's a tip medical professionals also stand behind.

“This type of wind chill factor that we're going to be experiencing you really want to minimize any kind of exposure out in those elements for any period of time at all,” Dr. Jeff Anderson from the Avera Heart Hospital said.

Even short-term exposure can be dangerous.

“It can happen just in a matter of less than a minute. If it's extreme cold you can get frost nip or sometimes frost bite to the extremities,” Anderson said.

Leaving the vehicle takes away the best wind barrier a driver has.

“It significantly increases the chances that you know, you're going to suffer some kind of cold exposure injury, things along those lines, or even death that situation,” Barnable said.

Another tip, make sure your cell phone is charged in case you do need to make any emergency calls.