Phone App Developed to Help Stranded Texas Motorists

It will help users find their current location, call 911, notify friends and family, and calculate how long it is possible to run their vehicle's engine to keep warm before running out of fuel

A new, free phone app for Texans stranded on the highway during snow and ice storms has been added to the Texas Extension Disaster Education Network (Texas EDEN) website. It will help users find their current location, call 911, notify friends and family, and calculate how long it is possible to run thier vehicle's engine to keep warm before running out of fuel, said Bob Bertsch, a North Dakota State University Agriculture Communication web technology specialist who headed the team that developed the Winter Survival Kit app.

One of many disaster- and emergency-related materials available through http://texashelp.tamu.edu, it is a smartphone application provided by the North Dakota State University Extension Service and available at no cost for use with iPhone and Android, according to its developers.

"With the amount of snow and ice during winter in the Panhandle and North Texas, plus the possibility of unusual cold weather occurrences elsewhere in the state, we felt it would be helpful to many Texans to make this app accessible through the website," said Dr. Joyce Cavanagh, Texas AgriLife Extension Service specialist in family economics and resource management and a member of the national Extension Disaster Education Network. She said the app also will be of use to Texans who plan to drive to states that get more ice and snow during the winter and are unfamiliar with the roads they will be traveling.

"The Winter Survival Kit app can be as critical as a physical winter survival kit if you find yourself stuck or stranded in severe winter weather conditions,” said Bertsch. "You can use the Winter Survival Kit app to store important phone and policy numbers for insurance or roadside assistance. You can also designate emergency contacts you want to alert when you become stranded."

The app alerts the user every 30 minutes as a reminder to turn off the vehicle's engine and check the exhaust pipe for snow buildup. It provides information on assembling a winter survival kit, preparing a vehicle for winter driving, and staying safe when stranded in an ice storm or stuck in snow.

To access the application through the Texas EDEN website, click on the Hot Topics tab.

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