With Old Man Winter right around the corner, taking the time to do your due diligence and be prepared for any challenges should be on your to-do list. Whether you’re at home or on the road, here are a few best practices to follow so you and your family can stay safe this winter season:

Home Safety

  • Have a minimum of seven days worth of food, water and necessities in the event of a power outage or storm that keeps you housebound
  • Keep a bag of ice melt or salt for icy stairs and walkways
  • Clean out your gutters and downspouts
  • Cut away tree branches that hang over your house.
  • Turn off water to outdoor spigots
  • Disconnect your sprinkler system
  • Drain and store any outdoor hoses
  • Bring outdoor furniture indoors
  • Bring your grill and propane tank out of the elements
  • Make sure you have a snow shovel or snow blower if you do your own snow removal
  • Use a small shovel when the snow is wet
  • If you shovel your drive or walkways, take your time, drink water, take breaks often and stop if you feel out of breath, strained or sore
  • Insulate any pipes susceptible to freezing
  • Install a water, leak and freeze detection system
  • When temperatures are severely low, keep a stream of water running in a few faucets to guard against freezing and bursting pipes
  • Seal any cracks or gaps around doors and windows
  • Service any furnaces, boilers, and chimneys
  • Set your ceiling fans to run counterclockwise
  • Replace furnace filters
  • Inspect wood stoves or fireplaces

Auto Safety

  • Install snow tires or chains
  • Clear off your headlights and taillights
  • Check and maintain your tire pressure
  • Install winter wipers
  • Replace your wiper fluid with freeze-resistant wiper fluid
  • Consider switching to thinner oil
  • Get your battery tested
  • Maintain the correct antifreeze/water mixture to prevent fluid from freezing in your radiator
  • Check your rear window defroster
  • Keep your gas tank full
  • Pack an emergency kit with a flashlight, flares, matches, blankets, a winter coat, leather gloves, hats, a small shovel, a bag of sand, jumper cables, an ice scraper, extra antifreeze, water, and snacks

Driving Safety

  • Leave a little early so you are not rushed
  • Keep a safe following distance from other vehicles, giving you extra space to brake and stay out of other vehicles’ blind spots.
  • Only use cruise control when driving on dry roads
  • Limit abrupt steering and braking.