While winter seems to have skipped January, it appears determined to make up for it now! If you’re among the thousands of Northwesterners who awoke to a blanket of white, these 10 tips can help you keep your car, your home and most importantly, yourself, safe.
For your car:
- Postpone all non-essential trips by setting up work-from-home arrangements or rescheduling appointments.
- Fill your gas tank (in case you’re caught in a snow-snarled commute) and pack winter emergency essentials. At minimum: extra food, prescription medicine and warm clothing and boots. Carry tire chains and make sure you know how to put them on.
- Increase following distances and reduce speed break gently.
- If your car starts to slide ease off the brake or accelerator and gently turn your wheel in the direction you want the front of the car to go. For example, if your rear tires are sliding right and pushing the front of the car to the left, steer to the right. (Sometimes you hear it called “steering into a slide.”) Once the car has started to respond and the front is nearly centered again, gently straighten the wheel so you don’t inadvertently overcorrect and send the car sliding in the opposite direction!
- If you’re stuck or stranded, stay with your car and call for help unless you’re certain it’s safer to leave (considering your clothing, physical fitness, distance to help and the danger your stuck car could be hit with you inside). If you leave, here’s how to secure your car.
For your home:
- Never use barbecues or generators inside the house or garage. They can expose you to dangerous carbon monoxide.
- Head off burst pipes by wrapping exposed pipes or faucets. Open cabinets under sinks to let warm air circulate around pipes.
- Keep steps and porches free of ice with de-icing granules from the hardware store.
- Remove large accumulations of snow around your home if they could melt and seep into your home (think patios and driveways that slope toward the house). Also clear street drains.
- Don’t climb a ladder or get on a roof to remove snow. The risk of a dangerous fall is just too great.