If you live in the Northern part of the East Coast, then snowy winters are nothing new to you. No, you’re probably used to frozen toes and chapped cheeks. However, this year, our Southern friends are getting a taste of what we deal with on a yearly basis and let’s be real about it; they’re freaking out. Okay, yes, it’s with good reason as they don’t come equipped with all of the vehicles and salt reserves that we do to make our driving experience that much safer. Most people who have ever driven during the winter are well versed on all of the hazards that come along with the weather, but are we all prepared for what else can come from these ultra low temperatures that are sweeping the nation? Here are just some of the hazards for which we should be prepared during the months preceding spring.
What to Watch For
On the Roads
Black Ice –Black ice is the phenomenon that we’re all aware of up here in the northern states, but it’s something that a lot more states are having to worry about this year. This condition is what happens when the roads thaw and then freeze again, creating a clear coating of ice that simply gives the roads the appearance of being wet.
Other Drivers –Winter combined with four wheel drive vehicles gives drivers a sense of false bravado. They come to believe that their trucks and SUVS are equipped to handle any situation. However, nothing is more safe than good judgement and all too often, other drivers aren’t using it. During inclement weather, be ultra aware of other drivers as they may be driving too fast or recklessly for conditions.
Frozen Pipes –When the temperatures dip in the single digits, everyone with indoor plumbing runs the risk of having frozen pipes. If a frozen pipe bursts, it can cost more than$1000 to repair and up to $6000 to replace. To combat this, experts suggest opening cabinet doors beneath your sinks to allow the heat from your home to circulate. If you have rooms that aren’t being used on a regular basis, such as a utility room or spare bathroom, make sure the doors to those rooms are left open to get some heat to the pipes.
Downed Wires –A lot of people in the northern states have backup generators to keep them in electricity should the power go out. Ice can grow rather heavy on tree limbs, causing them to snap and fall on power lines. Heavy snowfall can also cause these issues. There is no sure fire way to keep this from happening at your house, but you can ensure that you have some supplies on hand should a massive storm be in your future. Bottled water, blankets, firewood (if you have a fireplace), non-perishable food, and a charged cell phone are all good to have around.
There’s nothing as beautiful as freshly fallen snow against the backdrop of the winter sky, but no matter its beauty, winter weather can cause some issues. While a lot of the country is used to the rigors of snow and ice, there are some states this year experiencing cold weather that aren’t really used to it. The best way to handle it is to be prepared for whatever may be coming your way. Pay close attention to your local weather forecasts, have some supplies readily available, and make sure your heating system is functioning.