The following are winter tips you didn’t know you needed because you’re from the South, and we don’t typically have the extreme snow and temperatures that are currently predicted for this week. So here they are.
Don’t drive unless you absolutely have to, but here are some pointers to keep you from getting into trouble.
This is THE most important tip. I know you want to get that car or truck warm, but you have to consider the surroundings.
- If your vehicle is parked outside in your driveway, your job or anywhere while it’s snowing, there’s a possibility of the snow getting higher than your exhaust pipe. Don’t start your car before clearing the snow away from your exhaust pipe(s). If there’s snow blocking the air flow, the exhaust fumes will seep into the interior of your car and be deadly.
- If you park inside, don’t start your car before you open the garage door. This could also lead to inhaling deathly toxic fumes.
- Drive extra slow – like 15 in a 40 mph zone.
- Don’t tailgate. Stay three car lengths away.
- When using your brakes, only tap them, so you don’t spin or slide.
- If you are sliding, shift the vehicle into Neutral and try to drift to a safe place at the curb.
- Wipers – If your vehicle is going to be left outside for any length of time, pull up the windshield wipers and leave them up. You can also cover your windshield with cardboard.
- Windshield – If you didn’t do those things, you can quickly defrost your windshield by using water and alcohol. Don’t use hot or even warm water, since it can crack your window. You can use a spray bottle with 2 parts rubbing alcohol and 1 part water. Spray the solution on your window and it will melt frost away.
- Door – Maybe you remembered the wipers and the windows, but now the door is frozen shut. Don’t tug on the handle, since it can break. Try pushing inward to break the seal of the ice. If your handle or keyhole are frozen, you can pour warm water over it (just not on the window).
Be Prepared (Vehicle)
Try as you may, you might still get stuck. Here are some things that you can do to help get unstuck.
- Make sure you have plenty of gas to get there and back twice. You don’t want to run out.
- Have rock salt or just regular salt to melt ice under a stuck tire.
- Have kitty litter or sand to make friction under the tire.
- If you didn’t think of those things, you can use a floor mat or towel under your tire.
- You can also let a little bit of air out of the tires.
Be Prepared (Humans)
If you’re stuck somewhere, it could be a while before help comes along. Obviously, don’t leave without dressing warm and coverings for basically every part of your body. But also bring these things:
- Food, snacks, water
- Blankets, towels
- Socks, pants, shirt, gloves
These are a few random tips to save your pipes, save energy or to make do in a pinch if you do lose water or power.
- Cover your outdoor faucets with a foam cup or a towel or t-shirt to protect it from freezing, so hopefully a pipe won’t burst.
- Leave your indoor faucets dripping when it’s under 30 degrees. Or when it’s under 20 degrees, let the water lightly stream.
- Know where your water meter is and how to turn it off in case a pipe does burst.
- Electric and natural gas companies are currently urging users to conserve energy so we don’t have widespread blackouts.
- Keep your thermostat on 60-65 degrees during your waking hours at home, and drop it 5-10 degrees lower while you sleep or if you will be away for several hours.
- Use towels, blankets or pillows for insulation on windows and doors. Push them against the cracks at the bottom. You can also pick up long curtains and push them in the window sill.
- Check the clothes dryer vent outside to make sure it isn’t covered with snow. Dryer lint can get trapped there and cause a fire.
- Keep your devices charged in case of an outage.
- If your electricity does go out:
- Use candles to keep warm. If you have an empty clay pot, you can suspend it above one or more candles to make the heat radiate farther.
- Keep all residents in one small room to share body heat. Even if this means everyone sleeps in the living room.
- Close off vents other rooms, close the doors and push a towel against the door in the floor.
- You can put lots of groceries from the refrigerator outside so they won’t spoil. But beware of drinks like soda and beer. If they get under 30 degrees, they can explode.
- Dress in layers even in the house. Use a tight layer underneath – tight socks, leggings, long underwear, a t-shirt or tank. Use loose layers on top – big or fluffy socks, jeans, sweatpants, pajama pants, hoodie, sweater. This will keep you warm in a cooler house. When you go out, add a coat, scarf, hat and gloves.
- Use a humidifier or simmer water on the stove. This helps the house retain heat and keeps its residents from getting chapped lips and sore nose. Oh but it’s still a good idea to keep chap stick handy.
- Pets need shelter in this extreme cold. Bring them inside even if they are normally outside animals OR if you have an insulated shelter for them, like a doghouse or barn, that’s fine that will work, as long as the breeze can’t get in.
- Your dog(s) will need to go outside for their business, but limit it to 10 minutes or less.
- Some dogs won’t want to “go” in the snow because they are too small or short. You can use a board to cover an area so that you can lift it and have grass that they might like better.
These are all the tips I have. If you have more, please put them in the comments!