Be Prepared for Winter Weather
It doesn’t matter if the weather outside is frightful—as long as you, your home and your car are winter-ready.
Around the House
Avoid going outside during a severe winter storm. Once the weather has passed:
- Clear sidewalks and driveways. As soon as possible, remove snow with a shovel or snowblower to prevent an icy layer from forming on the pavement. Then, sprinkle the area with de-icer 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. Standing on the ground, remove excess snow from roofs, small sheds and pool covers with a snow rake.
- Prevent ice dams. Snow that melts and refreezes on a roof can cause leaks and unseen water damage. Place assembled ice melt socks every 5 – 10 feet to control runoff and prevent ice dams from forming.
On average, more than 1,300 people are killed and more than 116,800 injured each year from winter-weather-related crashes. Take these 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. Not only can this improve your safety — you can’t avoid what you can’t see — but also the safety of other motorists.
- Fill your gas tank. Keep it 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
When winter weather strikes, stay off the road. 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 change the radio station, or your playlist. 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.