Preparing for Winter Weather on Roads and at Home

Winter weather is headed to New Jersey this weekend, bringing snow, rain and possible freezing temps on wet roads. The American Red Cross is sharing some safety reminders.

WINTER DRIVING SAFETY

Stay off the road, if possible, during severe weather. If you must drive in winter weather, follow these tips:

  • Keep the following in your vehicle:
    • A windshield scraper and a small broom. A small sack of sand for generating traction under wheels and a set of tire chains or traction mats. Matches in a waterproof container. A brightly colored (preferably red) cloth to tie to the antenna
    • An emergency supply kit, including warm clothing.
  • Keep your vehicle’s gas tank full so you can leave right away in an emergency and to keep the fuel line from freezing.
  • Make sure everyone has their seat belts on and give your full attention to the road.
  • Don’t follow other vehicles too closely. Sudden stops are difficult on snowy roadways.
  • Don’t use cruise control when driving in winter weather.
  • Don’t pass snow plows.
  • Ramps, bridges and overpasses freeze before roadways.
  • If you become stranded:
    • Stay in the vehicle and wait for help. Do not leave the vehicle to search for assistance unless help is visible within 100 yards (91 meters). You can quickly become disoriented and confused in blowing snow.
    • Display a trouble sign to indicate you need help. Hang a brightly colored cloth (preferably red) on the radio antenna and raise the hood after snow stops falling.
    • Run the engine occasionally to keep warm. Turn on the engine for about 10 minutes each hour (or five minutes every half hour). Running the engine for only short periods reduces the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and conserves fuel. Use the heater while the engine is running. Keep the exhaust pipe clear of snow, and slightly open a downwind window for ventilation.
    • Leave the overhead light on when the engine is running so that you can be seen.

WINTER SAFETY TIPS

  • Learn what to do if the power goes out and how to heat your home safely
  • Protect pipes from freezing.
  • Winter is also hard on our pets. Visit here to learn how to keep your furry friends safe during this cold, snowy weather.
  • Wear layers of clothing, a hat, mittens and waterproof, insulated boots.
  • Be careful when tackling strenuous tasks like shoveling snow in cold temperatures.
  • Check on your neighbors, especially elderly people living alone, people with disabilities and children.
  • Watch for hypothermia and frostbite. Hypothermia symptoms include confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering. Frostbite symptoms include numbness, flushed gray, white, blue or yellow skin discoloration, numbness, or waxy feeling skin.

DOWNLOAD APPS

People can download the Red Cross Emergency App for instant access to weather alerts for their area and where loved ones live. Expert medical guidance and a hospital locator are included in the First Aid App in case travelers encounter any mishaps. Both apps are available to download for free in-app stores or at redcross.org/apps. These apps are also available in Spanish. Search for “American Red Cross” in your mobile app store or go to redcross.org/apps. In the app, go to “settings” and “change your app’s language” to switch your language to Spanish.

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