As temperatures drop this winter, the American Red Cross offers ten steps people can take to stay safe during the cold weather.
1. Layer up! Wear layers of lightweight clothing to stay warm. Gloves and a hat will help prevent losing your body heat.
2. Don’t forget your furry friends. Bring pets indoors. If they can’t come inside, make sure they have enough shelter to keep them warm and that they can get to unfrozen water.
3. Remember the three feet rule. If you are using a space heater, place it on a level, hard surface and keep anything flammable at least three feet away – things such as paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs.
4. Requires supervision – Turn off space heaters and make sure fireplace embers are out before leaving the room or going to bed.
5. Don’t catch fire! If you are using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.
6. Protect your pipes. Run water, even at a trickle, to help prevent your pipes from freezing. Open the kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals out of the reach of children. Keep the garage doors closed if there are water lines in the garage.
7. Better safe than sorry. Keep the thermostat at the same temperature day and night. Your heating bill may be a little higher, but you could avoid a more costly repair job if your pipes freeze and burst.
8. The kitchen is for cooking. Never use a stove or oven to heat your home.
9. Use generators outside. Never operate a generator inside the home, including in the basement or garage.
10. Knowledge is power. Don’t hook a generator up to the home’s wiring. The safest thing to do is to connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator.
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Winter Driving Tips from AAA Hoosier Motor Club
Avoid driving if you're tired. Getting the proper amount of rest before driving in winter weather reduces accident risks.
Never warm up or operate a vehicle in an enclosed area, such as a garage.
Keep your gas tank at least half full.
Be cautious when driving in winter conditions.
Slow down. Adjust your speed to the road conditions and leave yourself ample room to stop. Allow at least three times more space than usual between you and the car in front of you. Accelerate, turn and brake gradually.
Do not tailgate. Normal following distances of three to four seconds on dry pavement should be a minimum of five to six seconds when driving on slippery surfaces. The extra time will provide additional braking room should a sudden stop become necessary.
Watch the traffic ahead. Slow down immediately if you see brake lights, skidding vehicles or emergency flashers.
Never use cruise control on slippery roads.
Avoid unnecessary lane changes. Changing lanes increases the chances of hitting a patch of ice between lanes that could cause loss of vehicle traction.
Don't power up hills. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads may only result in spinning your wheels. Try to get a little inertia going before you reach a hill and let the inertia carry you to the top. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed downhill as slowly as possible.
Minimize the need to brake on ice. If you're approaching a stop sign, traffic light or other area where ice often forms, brake early on clear pavement to reduce speed. Vehicle control is much more difficult when braking on ice-covered roadways.
Know your brakes. If you have anti-lock brakes (ABS) and need to slow down quickly, press hard on the pedal. It's normal for the pedal to vibrate a bit when the ABS is activated.
Do not brake and turn at the same time. Brake first, then turn, then accelerate.
If you begin to skid...
Control the skid by continuing to look and steer in the direction you want to go. DO NOT slam on the brakes. Doing so can make a skid worse.
Drive distraction free.
Do not text or engage in activities that will distract you while driving. If driving with a passenger, ask him/her to carry out activities that would otherwise distract you from driving safely.