PADUCAH, KY (KFVS) - Due to cold temps and the wind-chill factor being below zero, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Safety Patrol is extending its hours.
According to KYTC, something as simple as a flat tire, running out of gas, a dead battery or other mechanical issue can become a life-threatening situation in freezing temps.
Safe Patrol units cruise interstates and parkways across the region assisting Kentucky drivers who may have breakdowns and other travel issues.
The expanded operating hours are aimed at providing an increased level of safety for travelers during the extreme cold, according to Safe Patrol Western Division Manager J.D. Lee.
"Our Safe Patrol operators will be expanding their hours today and tonight, as well as Thursday," Lee said. "Our operators will also be prepared to respond to emergencies quickly during their off-hours."
Lee urges motorists to delay travel, and if have to get out on the road, he urges drivers to take the cold temperatures seriously and to be fully prepared.
"Play it safe," Lee said. "Even if you're out for a short drive and your vehicle becomes disabled you can get into trouble fairly quickly. With the heater operating properly you can cruise pretty comfortably at 75 degrees. However, if your vehicle shuts down for some reason, the temperature can drop pretty dramatically. If you have any kind of health issue, your situation can become critical fairly quickly."
If you are driving cross-country, Lee has several suggestions.
-Share your travel schedule with friends or family and check in frequently.
-Carry extra drive clothing, a blanket, water and snacks in case you get stranded.
-Keep your cell phone fully charged for emergency use.
The National Weather Service has issued a Wind Chill Advisory in effect until 8 a.m., Thursday.
Winds in the 15-25 mph range and gusts to 35 mph will combine with temperatures falling to around 10 degrees at some locations overnight to create a health hazard.
The combination of high winds and low temps is expected to put the wind-chill numbers below zero.
For more information on preparing for the extreme cold go to http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/winter/outreach.shtml