Be Prepared for Winter Weather
It doesn’t matter if the weather outside is frightful—you, your home and your car can still be winter-ready.
Around the House
Avoid going outside during a severe winter storm. Once the weather has passed:
- Clear sidewalks and driveways. Remove snow with a shovel or snowblower as soon as possible to prevent an icy layer from forming on the pavement. Next, sprinkle the area with deicer to keep ice from building up.
- Remove snow from the roof. Layers of fluffy snow can absorb additional sleet or rain, creating the risk of roof collapse. Stand on the ground and remove excess snow from roofs, small sheds and pool covers with a snow rake.
- Prevent ice dams. Snow that melts and then refreezes on a roof can cause leaks and unseen water damage in your home. Place assembled ice melt socks every 5 – 10 feet to control runoff and prevent ice dams from forming.
According to the Federal Highway Administration, on average, more than 1,300 people are killed and more than 116,800 injured each year from winter-weather-related crashes. Take precautions before driving:
- Top off windshield washer fluid. Add a stronger winter cleaning variant to quickly clear away road grime, snow and ice.
- Remove snow or ice from car windows. This can help improve not only your safety — you can’t avoid what you can’t see — but also the safety of other motorists.
- Fill your tank. Keep the gas tank at least half full during cold-weather months to help prevent fuel lines from freezing.
- Stock an emergency kit. Stash these suggested items in the trunk before traveling.
On the Road
Stay off the road when winter weather strikes. If you absolutely must drive, do it as safely as you can:
- Adjust your speed. Posted speed limits apply to ideal driving conditions. Drive slowly and carefully, increase following and stopping distances, and change lanes with care.
- Watch for black ice. Ramps, bridges, overpasses and underpasses are the first areas to freeze, and the last to thaw. Know what to do if your car starts skidding on black ice.
- Don’t panic. Remain calm if you’re stuck in a snowbank or stranded by the side of the road. Call 911 and stay with your vehicle while waiting for help.
- Pay attention. Snowy and icy conditions require that you concentrate on the road, not search for that elusive game on the radio or the playlist on your iPod. And while talking on a mobile phone is bad in any weather, it’s worse when your survival depends on being 100 percent focused on driving.